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Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Summer Smiles


I've been busy sewing up smiles this holiday weekend and I've enjoyed every minute.  For Reagan, I stitched up a Romper for her first July 4th celebration, and for my very special teenage daughter, Sarah, I stitched up a lovely dress for her to wear out with her special guy this weekend.


For Reagan, I used the same pattern for her Romper that I used for her Dress a couple of weeks ago, McCalls Pattern M4424, only I made the Romper and I made some modifications that were sure to make a difference in how the Romper functions on a 10 month old whose diapers need regular changing.


Isn't it adorable?!!  I found this very nice lightweight white cotton fabric with little red embroidered flowers all over it and thought it would be perfect for her holiday romper.


I didn't want the ruffle in the back to be the same fabric as the outfit, so I found this white eyelet ruffle with red embroidered hearts that was just perfect, and although the pattern called for the ruffle to go all the way around the romper, I decided to sew it just to the back.  I also added a blue button at the lap-over for contrast.


Of course, this romper wouldn't be finished without a cute embroidery for the bodice.  I went to my favorite embroidery place on the net - The Embroidery Library, and found this cute little patriotic bear for about 3 dollars.  I downloaded it to my 4D Embroidery software, made some adjustments to size and then stitched it to the bodice.


I am always happy with the quality of the embroidery designs I have found at the Embroidery Library


I hand-embroidered this label for the inside of Reagan's Romper.  I just can't seem to do it on my machine without there being too many stitches.


And this is the other modification I made to the pattern - snaps at the crotch.  For the life of me I couldn't figure out why a baby romper would not have snaps at the crotch.  Obviously, whoever designed the pattern did not have a baby.  Can you imagine having to change a dirty diaper and having to remove the entire romper?!!  Forget it.  So, the first thing I did was add the elastic to the leg opening, then I made binding for the opening of the crotch and finished it off by adding 3 pretty snaps.  Perfect.  My daughter, Kimberly thanked me for remembering that diapers need to be changed - as quickly and easily as possible.



On to Sarah - My teenage girl wanted me to make her a pretty dress for a date she is going on with her boyfriend, Walker.  It is his birthday this coming weekend, and she wanted to look especially pretty when they go out to see a movie.  We found this great pattern by McCalls - M5621.  What I liked about the pattern was that there were no zippers or buttons, snaps or ties. 


There was, however, a very challenging collar.  As a matter of fact, it was probably the most challenging collar I have ever had to sew.  The curves were difficult and the fabric kept wanting to pucker.  But, with seam-ripper in hand, I ripped out seams and re-stitched a number of times until it was perfect. 

Sarah picked out this fabric - isn't it great?!!  I love it.  It is really stylish and is "Challis," a 100% rayon that flows nicely.


The problem I have found with this fabric, though, is that if you are not very careful, you can snag the fabric.  It is best to wear those disposable latex free gloves while handling and sewing the fabric.  That is what I did.  I keep a box of them in my art studio because oil paint on the skin is toxic. 

One thing is for sure - you can't be good at sewing if you are not patient and enjoy what you are doing.  I love to sew, and I especially love making clothes for my children.  It is the process that makes it so much fun for me.


I switched my serger thread to a 3-thread serging.  I thought it made a better finish on the interior seams.  It laid flatter too.  The 4-thread serging wanted to pucker the fabric.  That is another problem with the Challis fabric - it ruffles, puckers, and snags if you are not particularly careful while sewing.


The underarm was challenging too, but that was only because the fabric was difficult to work with.  It frayed a lot along the raw edges and I couldn't see finishing the inside of the underarm facing with the serger.  I wanted it to look finished, so I added white bias tape to the raw edge of the underarm facing.  Perfect.  And it looks really nice and finished and is comfortable against the skin.


I also put a finished white bias binding across the bottom hem of the dress.  It looks great and adds a designer touch.  Sarah tried on the dress and was all smiles!  It fit her perfect and Sarah gave me a big hug.  Of course, that is why I love to sew - the smiles and hugs that come after.



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