Thursday, April 28, 2011

Time for Summer Sewing! Here is a FREE pattern!

          Its time to start sewing for Summer! Here is a precious little sundress that you can make in no time at all for some lucky little girl. Its so easy! One of my dear sweet customers made this for the shop several months ago. She had seen a dress similar in a catalog for way too much money and knew that she could make one on her own ~ no pattern is really necessary. She used a cute little printed knit (Pink Mod Floral on our website - we still have a little). The fabric hangs perfectly and requires no slip. This little sundress would be a perfect bathing suit cover-up! Okay, so how do you make one? 
1.) Measure the child ~ or adult, as this works for anyone ~ from just under the arm to the proposed finished length. Now measure around the chest and then double this measurement. Cut out a rectangle to these measurements. This will be the entire dress!
Depending on the total width, you might need one width of fabric or more. If you need more then divide the number in half and cut two panels; one for the front and one for the back.
Ruffle ~ This needs to be about twice the width of the skirt. The width of the ruffle is totally up to you. This little sundress has a 4 1/2" wide ruffle. If you are making this for yourself as a "Maxi" dress, the ruffle needs to be probably about 6" wide.
Straps ~ Cut (2) two strips of fabric from 2"-3" wide by around 18" for a little girl or 3"-4" wide by  28" long for an adult.  When you attach the straps to the dress, try it on to adjust to a comfortable length. If they are too long, just cut off whatever is unnecessary.
2.) Preparation ~ First finish the following edges of your pieces with a rolled hem*  in a contrasting thread rather than hemming them: the dress at the top, both sides of the ruffle and both sides of the straps. This is much faster and is prettier by far!
*For perfectly smooth rolled hems, use wooly nylon thread in the upper looper of your serger.
3.) Sewing ~ Sew the dress together into a tube shape. Attach all of the ruffle sections together.
Close-up of bodice shirring.
4.) Shirring ~ about 1/2" down from one edge of the ruffle, shirr 3 rows about 1/4" apart with elastic thread in the bobbin of your sewing machine.
For the dress do the same, but rather than 3 rows, shirr as many rows as you want for the bodice section. 
For the straps, shirr 4 - 10 rows ~ this depends on the width of your straps.
How to Shirr: To wind the elastic thread onto the bobbin, you can start it on the sewing machine as you fill any other bobbin. Then you need to "slow it down" to fill it up the rest of the way. I just hook my finger around the elastic as it goes into the bobbin. This slows it down just enough - like a brake. To shirr, set your machine's stitch length at 4 and sew! Do not cut your threads at the end of each row. Just turn around and go back the other direction until you get enough rows shirred. After you are done at the machine, steam the shirred sections with your iron and watch the magic! It will shrink up beautifully. Do not touch the iron to the elastic thread ~ hold the iron a couple of inches above the fabric.
5.) Finishing ~ Attach the ruffle to the bottom of the dress by pinning it on top of the dress  about 1/2" above the very bottom. (The top edge will look a little like a "lettuce" edge. Cute!)
Try the dress on and pin on the straps where they are most comfortable. Stitch to attach to the sundress and you are done!!!
Post pictures of your little sundresses!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

A Quick Trip to Tucson!

      I just made a super quick trip to Tucson and back with my husband to collect a "toy" ~ for him! It was really quite nice to be "trapped" in the car with plenty of time to visit without the interruptions of daily life. I knitted, browsed magazines, help drive and laughed a lot. We stayed the first night in Las Cruces, New Mexico. It was so pretty! Desert and mountains everywhere you looked . . . and cactus, of course!  I loved the flowers that were getting ready to bloom on this cactus to your left. We had clear skies with cool crisp temperatures. Naturally after we checked in to our hotel, we ventured out to see what was in town. 

 Did I locate a local fabric store? Why, of course. I did not even look it up, my "fabric nose" just led us to it!

Did we find a great Mexican restaurant? Is there sand in the desert! 

We only stayed one night and then it was on to Tucson to pick up the new/old little motorcycle. This time a '69 Honda 90. I believe that this is #4. Gotta love a man with a hobby!

Here are a few more cactus pictures. There are really interesting to look at.


I wanted to share with everyone a few more pictures of last weekend's sewing retreat. We had so much fun that I keep thinking about the next one and what we can do!    

Mollie & Bettie and their completed projects!

Cathy, one of our novices and 3 completed garments! 

Denise was super productive!

Elizabeth with just a couple of her garments!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Our Dessert on Saturday Night

         This is what we all had for our dessert Saturday night at the sewing retreat! Its German Pecan Pie and it was delicious. Just looking at it makes me want another piece! I still have more pictures to share of our fun projects, but it is late and I am packing to go on a little trip with my husband tomorrow ~ Yeah! 

Here is the recipe for all of you to try: 

German Pecan Pie

4 egg whites beaten                                  1 t. vanilla
1 C sugar                                                       24 Ritz crackers
1 C. pecans chopped                                
Baker’s Semi-Sweet Chocolate Squares      

Put crackers in a zip locked bag and roll with rolling pin until you have an even fine grind.  Beat egg whites until stiff then slowly add sugar and beat until blended.  Stir in crackers, vanilla and pecans.  Pour into greased 9 inch pie plate.  Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until golden brown.  Cool 1 ½ to 2 hours. Cover with Cool Whip and shred chocolate on top.  Refrigerate.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Spring Sewing Retreat!

My annual Spring Sewing Retreat was this past weekend and I think that it was the best one ever! Our projects included making Easter dresses, the ever popular Twirl skirt, a fabric flower, a sewing notions bag (or several!)  and a knit yoga skirt and/or leggings! As always, the menu was decadant and memorable ~ I do not think that I will eat now for at least a week! 

Friday Evening's Dessert

And, the accomodations . . .  pure elegance and homey~comfy! I hold our sewing retreats at the Southern Comfort Retreat House in Mineola, Texas. See how pretty it is!

Here are some photos of just a few of the completed projects:

This is Miss Lily by Samantha Caffe of The Handmade Dress ~ of course it was not handmade! ~ made on the sewing machine! I do not know why her patterns bear that name.  

And below is a little suit made using a pattern by Jackie Clark, the Baby Overalls. Isn't this a classic! And, monogrammed too!

Here is another cutie: this is a pattern by ModKid Designs, Isabel.

Many of the participants made themselves a Notions Bag:

And some people made more than one!

I’ll post more pictures tomorrow of all of our fun as well as a one of my favorite recipes from our retreat hostess!