Halloween Costumes 2012

I’ve been ridiculously busy this last month with lots of stuff!

  • I am starting a lot of new items for my shop Bobbin’ Along
  • I finished up the “busy season” of running.  As some of you know, I’m an AVID runner and finished my second marathon earlier this month!
  • I made Halloween costumes for my girls and a little boy (I posted about this earlier).

If you read in my About Me section on this blog, you know that I started sewing when my first daughter was born.  My first real sewing project was her giraffe costume.  I’ve sewn her costumes and now also my youngest daughter’s costumes ever since.  This year was no exception.  Here was my Halloween story:

If others have 2 girls like me, they may find themselves in a similar situation as I did.

Like last year, I wanted to dress my daughters in coordinating Halloween costumes while both were easily influenced by what I’d like them to be rather than them telling me what they want.  I was trying to figure out a movie or TV show that had 2 girls in it.  It. Is. Tough.  Think about it.

Cinderella?  I’m not making one of my daughters an evil stepsister.

Little Mermaid?  No girl counterpart besides Ursula, and that wouldn’t have been nice when I show them pictures when they are older to say “You were the beautiful mermaid and you were a large, villainous octopus.”

You see my dilemma.

Then came along this new movie Secret of the Wings (a Tinker Bell movie).  Sisters?  Both Fairies?  WOW!  This is exactly what I want!  So with a couple of months before Halloween, I started my plan to convince my oldest to want to be Tinker Bell.  It worked (although it didn’t take a lot of convincing since she loves fairies).

So I went to the fabric store and got everything I needed to make these two fairy costumes.

THEN…my little one become ridiculously obsessed with Elmo.  If anyone has a child around this age, you know that’s not abnormal.  What is with that red puppet?  I haven’t met a kid that doesn’t love him.

After all of that trouble finding a coordinating costume for the girls, I switched everything up.  My littlest became Elmo for Halloween.  I have to say, though, that it was the best decision I could have made.  She LOVES that outfit.  I’m getting a lot of use out of it, though!

Here are pictures of my girls in their costumes.  Not matching, but still adorable (at least to their mother).

Halloween 2012

My Elmo

my Tinkerbell

Have a great Halloween!  It’s kind of my favorite holiday because…IT’S MY BIRTHDAY!  Everyone enjoy trick-or-treating as a celebration of my birthday.  It’s not for any other reason than a party for me, right??? haha

Also, check out my facebook page www.facebook.com/bobbinalonggifts if you want an Elmo onesie like my littlest is wearing.  It’s not just for a costume!

Brobee Costume

I’m just popping in quickly to show you a REALLY exciting costume that I had the opportunity to make.

My oldest goes to preschool with a girl who has a little brother with a broken femur.  He is in a cast from his chest to his knees.  Poor little boy can’t put regular pants on and is stuck basically on his back for 5-6 weeks.  This all happened – of course – around the time of Halloween, when EVERY kid runs around from house to house collecting candy.

His mother was telling me about their experience at the hospital.  They were going to make the cast in Packer’s colors. and it turned out to look more like Brobee from Yo Gabba Gabba.

Anyone would be pretty upset with having to have a large cast on for so long; a little kid with mounds of energy should be more frustrated!  This is not the case with this little guy.  He is all smiles!  Lots of family and friends have been visiting him and helping him pass the time.

How do I come into the picture?  SEWING!  I spoke with his mom about the challenges he has with his cast and his love for his new “twin” Brobee.  I wanted to make sure he could enjoy Halloween with his brother and sister without feeling left out of the fun of dressing up.  Let’s be real, store-bought costumes aren’t well made in the first place, so it is doubtful that his mom would have been able to find a costume to accommodate his cast.

I’m not sure if there is a pattern for a Brobee costume out there.  I didn’t look.  So in case anyone wants to know how to alter a regular pattern to make a costume, I’ll tell you some tips:

  • I took a McCall’s pattern for sweatpants and a jacket.  If you can’t find a plain shirt or pants in the color of the costume, you can easily make your own.  Don’t spend too much on a pattern unless you are going to use it a ton of times.  I don’t love to use patterns, so when I do, I won’t pay more than $1-$2 for the pattern.  Lots of places have sales on patterns and all brands have similar patterns.
  • I had to make the fabric because I wanted it in fleece and they didn’t have Brobee colored striped fleece.  I took a couple of yards of both colors, cut it in strips and sewed them all together to make one large piece before cutting out my pattern.
  • If you have stripes like I did, make sure when you cut your pattern out, you are fully aware of where the seams are going to meet so that the stripes match up.  I accidentally off-centered one pattern piece and it was a little off.
  • I needed to make “tear-away” pants instead of regular sweatpants because he couldn’t close his legs.  Instead of sewing the seams on the outside of the legs (like the pattern suggested), I used velcro so it can open on the sides.  This makes it much easier to put on and take off.
  • I added a hat with a face using felt.  it really finished off the costume.  Honestly, that was my favorite part of the costume.  You can even use the hat for winter!

    close up of hat

Here are some pictures of this awesome boy and his new Halloween costume.

Brobee fan all dressed up

TWINS! Dressed up as Brobee with a Brobee stuffed toy

I enjoyed making this because I know that his mom doesn’t have to worry about searching for a costume to make sure his Halloween can be as exciting as it should be.  Also, the look on his face when he tried it on was priceless.  He is seriously one of the sweetest little boys ever.  I hope he has a good time trick-or-treating.  I’d be happy to share his candy with him! 😉

National Sewing Month

September is National Sewing Month!  As you can tell by my exclamation mark, I’m pretty excited.

I. adore. sewing.

It puts me into my own world where I’m not concerned about the dishes, laundry, or messes that have accumulated around every corner of my house.

I sit down at my sewing machine, and I work on a project that I’ve had my eye on and lose myself in it for 10 minutes to a couple of hours, depending on how willing my children are to play nicely that day.

So in celebration of National Sewing Month, here are some of the projects that I hope to accomplish:

  • Halloween costumes for my daughters (yes…I know it’s a month and a half away.  If you have ever tried to sew costumes for your child when your child is present, it DOES takes a month…now add another costume to the mix…you see why I’m starting early.  I most likely will finish these by October 30th)

    Halloween 2011

  • More hearts for one of my favorite charities A Heart to Hold that sends weighted hearts to families going through pregnancy and infant loss

    Sewn Heart

  • I have a couple of craft fairs coming up, so I get to make TONS of little onesies to hopefully share with lots of people!

In the middle of all of that, I really want to help you all with some basic sewing techniques so that I can help newbies learn how to sew with me!

Have fun with your projects.  JoAnn Fabrics is having weekly sales on different fabrics, so check them out.  At the end of the month they are having a HUGE coupon commotion, so you know where I’ll be!

Purse Pocket Shirt Tutorial

I find a great deal of inspiration for my sewing projects from searching through clothing sites online. I’ve noticed that I can make an article of clothing myself for cheaper than you can find it online most of the time. This is the case in this tutorial for a Purse Pocket Shirt. I found a shirt with an appliqué that looked like a purse from Kettle of Fish Clothing.  I thought that was really cute but that I could make it easily and for cheaper than $74.  If you find it equally as cute, here is my shirt and how I did it.

my lady bug in her purse pocket shirt

NOTE: I will be hand-sewing some of this because, to me, it’s easier.  If someone has a tip on how to machine sew some of these things, let me know.  I’m always looking for shortcuts!

MATERIALS

  • Shirt (if you buy short sleeves, I’ve also added how to add sleeves to look like it’s a layered shirt)
  • 1/4 yard of fabric (you could use only 1/8 yard if you aren’t doing sleeves)
  • Ribbon/Rick Rack in matching color
  • Thread in matching color (I actually did it in a contrasting color, though)
  • 1 button

I included a pattern for the purse because it was much easier than explaining. If you need the purse bigger or smaller, it’d be simple to enlarge the pattern slightly. This purse is for a size 2T shirt.

MEASURING AND CUTTING

**If you are doing sleeves do this step, otherwise go to next step.  Measure the length of a sleeve for your child.  Make sure you start from the corner of the shoulder (usually if you take a long sleeved shirt that your child already has, just start from the seam of the shoulder and sleeve) and measure to the wrist.  Subtract the length of the short sleeve that you will be attaching the layered sleeve to get your finished length.  I got 6 inches.  I did not use elastic to keep the sleeve tight at the wrist because I like to pull up my kid’s sleeves when she plays with dirty things and then I don’t leave little marks on her chubby arms when I roll them down.  Therefore I only added 1/2″ for seam allowance, equaling 6.5″.  Then I took the diameter of the hole in the arm of the shirt (in my case 4 inches).  I added 1/2″ for seam allowance-4.5″.  **

Fold fabric in half, selvage to selvage. Pin and cut the two pattern pieces A & B on the fabric so that when you are done cutting you have two pieces of each part.  These will be your purse pocket.

patterns pinned on folded fabric

cut out pocket pieces

Measure your sleeves also at this time.  I measured a rectangle of 6.5″ by 4.5″.  I did this twice on the folded fabric (therefore having 4 rectangles total).

SEWING TIME

Purse Pockets

  1. Face the 2 matching pieces together and pin for both parts A & B with nice sides facing each other.

    pinned with nice sides facing in

  2. Sew, leaving 1/4″ seam allowance.  Leave one side open (smallest side to make it easier on yourself) so that you can turn it inside out.

    sewn pocket pieces with an opening

  3. I like to cut notches in the corners so that it makes a cleaner edge when it is turned around.

    cut notches in corners

  4. Turn parts inside out so now you see the nice sides.
  5. Thread a needle with the thread you used for your pocket.  You will be hand-sewing these closed.  In order to “blind stitch” this closed (where you don’t see the stitches), I start on the inside in order to hide the knot I made at the end of the thread.  I then fold the cut edges in so that it matches the look of the other seams in the piece.  I usually use my fingernails to press the folded edges.  I then use a running stitch and go from side to side, alternating, stitching just below the folded edge on each side.  Pull the thread as you go and you will either not see the stitches or BARELY see them.  That’s good!  Just don’t pull the thread too tightly or it will bunch the fabric.
  6. Finish it when you get to the end by grabbing a little part of the inside of the seam, as you are pulling the thread through, weave the needle through the loop your thread has made in order to form a knot.  I usually do this twice as a double loop to give it a little extra stability.  Cut off extra thread.
  7. Place parts A & B on your shirt close to the bottom side of the shirt (I placed in a diagonal).  Pin in place.
  8. I added a button on part B and a loop on Part A.  To see how to do a loop, look at this tutorial on sewn button loops.  Just make sure you line up where you want your pockets before putting on the button and loop (which is why I had you pin it on the shirt first), because otherwise it might not be perfectly aligned and unable to close.

    pin purse on shirt

Purse Straps

Start from the top corner of the top flap that is pinned to your shirt.  Pin the corner of the ribbon.  Then drape the ribbon across the shirt, over the shoulder, around the back, and then back to the other corner of the top flap.  This should look like the straps of a purse.  I play around with the ribbon to make sure it is lying the way I want it to and then pin it to the shirt.  I use a lot of pins so it stays where I want it.

pin ribbon on shirt to look like straps of purse

back of shirt – ribbon pinned to look like purse strap

Keep the purse pinned to the shirt still.  Now sew the strap on the shirt.  I go slowly so that the ribbon stays in place and I don’t bunch the shirt up as I sew.

Sewing Purse

I sew the top flap of the purse first.  I double check that the ribbon strap ends will be sewn into the top flap.  In order to cleanly finish the ribbon off would be to fold in the ends so that when it is sewn in place, you will not get any frayed edges.  Then I only sew the top side of the flap in order for it to open and close.  I straight stitch it with the sewing machine as close to the edge as possible (1/8″ to 1/4″ depending on how confident you feel about staying straight and on the fabric).  When you are done sewing, the ends of the ribbon should be under the flap.

straps sewn – top flap of purse pinned

keeping top flap aligned while sewing it on shirt

Now make sure that the bottom is still lined up with the top flap.  This time you will sew 3 sides, leaving the top side open so you can put your hand in like a pocket.

sewn bottom with top left open for pocket

You are done with the purse!

OPTIONAL SLEEVES

I thought this shirt might be cuter if I added sleeves.  This way it gives it a more store bought look.  I didn’t exactly do it the way that I am telling you how to, but after messing with this sleeve, I realized a more simple way.

  1. Take all four pieces and zigzag stitch all four sides on each.  I say this so you don’t have to worry about doing a rolled hem at the ends of the sleeves.
  2. Pin 2 rectangles together on the long sides with nice sides facing in.  If you have a pattern like I have, make sure the patterns are aligned.  I made sure my owls were all facing the same direction.  Now stitch along the sides with a 1/4″ seam allowance.  This will create the sleeves.

    pinned along sides

  3. Repeat with the other pieces to form 2 sleeves.
  4. Fold 3/8″ on the bottom of each sleeve and finger nail press it so you create a hem.
  5. Pin the hem in place.
  6. Sew 1/4″ hem on each sleeve.

    finished sleeves before put on shirt

  7. Pin top of sleeve to the sleeve of the tshirt.  To do this I turned both sleeve and shirt inside out.  I evenly pinned the top of the sleeve to the bottom of the tshirt sleeve starting with the seams on both, going around the sleeve.  Turn it back around to make sure it is even with the pattern.

    pinned sleeve to shirt

  8. I take a needle and thread (preferable the same color thread as your shirt) and hand sew in a straight stitch all around the sleeve.  I did my best to hide the stitch underneath the hem of the shirt.  Knot it at the end just like you did above with the blind stitch sewing above.

    sew under hem of shirt to hide stitches

  9. Repeat on the other sleeve.

    finished sleeve

All done!

finished shirt

I put it on my little lady bug and got SO many compliments!  She had fun with it, too!  I found little toys in it when I took it off of her in the evening.

As with all of my tutorials, if you are intimidated by this or don’t have as much time as you’d like to make it, I will make it for you!  Just visit my site Bobbin’ Along on Facebook @ www.facebook.com/bobbinalonggifts.

Happy sewing!

Back to Basics

I strive to help those that sew on a novice and intermediate level work their way through each of my projects with explaining various techniques that I use.  Through doing each tutorial, I realize that I might have to constantly explain various techniques.  I don’t want anyone to get frustrated with not knowing how to do something, while others may think that they are simple steps that don’t need tutorials.  When you are starting off, nothing is simple.  It does get easier, though!

Wouldn’t it be nice if we could all be in our bed sewing like actress Maureen O’Hara? (from LIFE)

In order to not repeat myself constantly for the intermediate sewer but also to help the newbies, I will be making tutorials on basics such as sewing a rolled hem, waistbands, and shirring that you will be able to look back on when you have questions.  You can find these in my SEWING BASICS tab at the top of my page.  I will also attach links along my posts to make it easy to get to the specific tutorial I’m speaking about.

I will still explain each step thoroughly, but I think if you follow me for more than one project, you would be bored with me constantly explaining certain techniques that I prefer to use frequently.

Please let me know if you would like me to add a “basic” technique to my list as I’m here to help you.  We are here for each other!

Funny Child Oufit

20120730-173157.jpg

One of the movies that I always catch myself watching when it is on tv is Dirty Dancing. I had to have a little fun crafting, so I made this onesie for my littlest. She wasn’t fond of me taking her picture, but I think that made it even cuter!

If you are interested in this funny onesie, visit my Facebook page Bobbin’ Along!

 

Sundress Tutorial

After making my shirred, pocket skirt my prima ballerina begged for me to make her an outfit. Of course, it was always something I was going to do, but she kept at it every day…”Mom!! Make me a dress!!!”

I thought about what would be a good dress to make and explain here, so I’m going to make a simple sundress with buttons on the back and ties to tighten at the waist. This will be an easy dress to make for relatively new sewers. It didn’t take long to make it, and it turned out super cute.

my oldest in her new dress

my oldest in her new dress

My daughter wears size 6 in girls, so I’ll be going off of that, but here is a link to measurements for all sorts of sizes. The only thing it doesn’t include is the length of the dress, and for that I just measured from her shoulder to where I wanted the dress to end-just below her knee.

MATERIALS

  •  1 1/4 yard of fabric
  •  5/8″ ribbon in coordinating color of fabric
  •  Double fold bias tape in same color as ribbon
  •  Thread
  •  2 buttons

MEASUREMENTS AND CUTS

Bodice

  1. I took a dress she currently has, and I measured the bodice height. It came out to 6″ finished. I like using current clothing to help me find what will fit my children. Add 1 inch for seam allowance, so I have 7″.
  2. I took my girl’s chest measurement (from the chart) and got 22″ and added 1 inch for seam allowance-giving me 23″.
  3. I cut out 2 rectangle pieces at 7″ x 23″.

Skirt part

  1. I took her waist measurement (26″) and multiplied by 1.5 so that I can have a gathered effect on the skirt part making 39″.
  2. I measured from her shoulder to just below the knee which was 25″. Because we are doing straps, I subtracted 2″, making the end length 23″.
  3. Since I will be using bias tape for the hem, I don’t need to add anything for the bottom hem, but I added a half inch for the top seam that meets with the bodice.
  4. The height of the skirt will be 17.5″ because I took the total finished length 23, subtracted the bodice finished length 6″, and added half an inch for seam allowance = 17.5″.
  5. Now I measure and cut one rectangle 17.5″ x 39″.
cut fabric

cut fabric

Ribbon

  1. Cut 1 length of ribbon at 44″. This will be for the waistband.
  2. Cut 4 lengths of ribbon at 10-12″.  This will be for the straps and will be tied like a bow, so if you want bigger bows, cut 12″.

“PREPPING”

Skirt

  1. Pin bias tape on the bottom hem

    pinned bias tape hem

    pinned bias tape hem

  2. Sew hem
  3. With nice sides facing in (you see bad side), pin sides together so that the skirt is closed and the bias tape hem is on the bottom. Sew side using zig zag stitch.

    side of skirt pinned with bias tape hem on bottom

    side of skirt pinned with bias tape hem on bottom

Bodice

  1. Face the nice sides of the fabric towards each other.
  2. I started in the middle of the pieces on the top.  This will be the front center of the bodice.  Since I decided to have the top of the front be 6 inches finished, I measured 3 1/4″ on either side (included 1/4″ seam allowance).
  3. I then went on both sides and measured 3 1/2″.

    bodice measurements (yellow is the fabric)

  4. With the arm holes, I took a bowl (or you could do a cup if you need smaller circles) and made a semi circle between the two measurements.  I repeated the same on the other side to get the other arm hole.

    bowl for arm holes

    bowl for arm holes

  5. Cut fabric.

    bodice pieces cut out

    bodice pieces cut out

  6. Pin fabric, leaving the bottom open (this will be attached to the skirt).
  7. Take the 4@10-12″ ribbons.  These will be the shoulder straps.  Put them inside the two pieces of fabric because once you sew them on, they will be shown with the “nice sides”.  As shown in the picture, two of the strips are in the middle for the front, and one of the strips are on either side that will end as the back straps.  Pin these so they are straight up and down and will be sewn into the seam.  I like to put the ribbon a little further from the seam so that it gives a square look to the top. You can see in the close up picture of my daughter the squared edges when you put the ribbons further from the seam.
    bodice with ribbon straps pinned

    bodice with ribbon straps pinned

    my beauty

    squared edges on top

  8. Sew seams at 1/4″.
  9. Flip inside out and you will see the straps coming out of the fabric.

COMBINING

  1. Gather skirt.  This can be done several ways.  I tend to do these by hand, using a running stitch.  This basically means take the needle and thread and go over and under the fabric in a straight line, leaving a length of thread on both ends so that you can pull it to gather it.  You can also do this with your sewing machine using a “straight stitch” and just make sure you give yourself a lot of thread to pull it.
  2. Pin the gathered skirt to the bodice.  Match the seam of the skirt with the sides of the bodice (the sides with come together with buttons later).  You can pull the thread or loosen it to make sure that it is evenly gathered while pinning it to the bodice.  Make sure you pin the skirt with the nice side on the inside so the seam is kidden when you sew.

    skirt gathered and pinned to bodice

    skirt gathered and pinned to bodice

  3. Sew in a zig zag stitch to give your skirt more reinforcement.

FINISHING TOUCHES

Waistband and Straps

  1. Fold the ribbon in half so that you can find the center.  Then pin the center on the front of the bodice in its center just about of the seam between the bodice and the skirt so that the bottom of the ribbon is slightly hiding the seam.
  2. Pin the ribbon to ONLY the front so that you will leave the ribbon loose on the sides and back to tie later.  You can do this by lying your dress flat and don’t pin the ribbon down on the back of the dress.
  3. Starting on the side, sew as close to the edge of the ribbon as possible.  Sew in a rectangle on the ribbon.  HINT: When you want to turn your fabric, turn the knob to put the needle down into the fabric.  This way when you lift the presser foot lever, you won’t lose your spot in your sewing.
  4. I then took a lighter and finished off all the ribbon edges that I cut.  To do this, you hold the ribbon in one hand and take a lighter back and forth across the edge (without letting the flame hit the ribbon so that it doesn’t melt the whole thing).  This creates seal to the edges so they don’t fray.

Buttons

Honestly, I was too intimidated to try to make a button hole with my sewing machine, so for this project I used a technique that I found on the website ysolda.com.  She gave a great tutorial, so I want to give her credit for this sewn button loop tutorial.  Then I hand sewed two buttons on the opposite side.buttons on back

THAT’S IT!  Here are a few pictures of my cutie pie wearing the dress.

my beauty

back with waist and shoulder straps tiedmy oldest in her new dress

Once I finished the sundress, my daughter immediately tried it on and danced around the room.  This is how she gets to be known as my Prima Ballerina.  Let me know what you think and if you’ve tried it yourself!