New Year… New Project!

I’m trying something new this year. I want to make it a habit to do something for me at least 20 minutes a day. I believe this will help with my stress and anxiety issues that I have been experiencing lately. So, to keep track of my progress I have been jotting my personal activities down in my day planner.

Yes, I do still keep a day planner. It helps me keep track of my many, many things that I have going on. Incase you are wondering, my favorite day planner is made by a company called Orange Circle Studio. They have 5 slots plus the main slot for each day and the whole week is payed out in front of you when you have it open. This calendar is perfect for my family since we have 5 members. Each one gets their own slot!

Anyways, back to my original topic! I’ve been working on a blanket but decided to put it down to work on something special for my Sister-in-Law and her Husband since they are expecting their first little one soon! I can’t tell you exactly what it is at this time because it’s a secret! But I can show you a little preview of the first two rows! No colors either because it could give it away!

Sneak Peak at a little gift that I am making for my Sister-in-Law and her Husband!

Pattern Test for Sew Much Love Patterns – 04

This pattern is a little different then the usual patterns that I test because it was a sewing pattern! 🙂 Yes, Sew Much Love Patterns has broadened her pattern making into the wonderful world of sewing! I was very excited when I saw that she wanted testers for her first sewing pattern so, of course I volunteered! 🙂 I love her crochet patterns and just knew that I would love her sewing pattern as well. So, I am very happy to share this test with you all!

First things first… picking out the fabric. I decided to make something for my Mushy this time, since I usually make stuff for my Peanut. I took both of them to the fabric store but let the little one pick out her fabric. She immediately picked a pink butterfly sparkley fabric (I wasn’t really surprised by that) then I picked the dark pink color to be the accent fabric.

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After I got home with the fabric I opened the PDF file for the pattern (this was my first PDF pattern that I have ever worked on). The instructions were very easy to follow for the measurements so I was able to cut my fabric.

20140425-231546.jpgAfter I got my four pieces cut to the correct measurements, it was time to move on to the assembling. This part of the pattern was so well written that I was able to whip up this dress in under an hour! From measuring to cutting to assembling! I almost wish that everything was this easy to work up! 🙂 She gives you instructions on how to do things for both sewing machine users and serger users (I don’t have a serger yet, but I hope to get one in the near future!).20140425-232244.jpg

My little Mushy just doesn’t like to model for me so, I had to settle with a hanger shot of the finished dress. I was able to trick her into letting me take some photos of her walking around though. Shhh don’t tell her! :p

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Her older sister liked the dress so much that I am now making her one as well! This one is in the same butterfly fabric but with a purple background and she wanted yellow to be her accent color. I of course would have picked a dark purple and I suggested it. But she was very sure that she wanted it to be yellow. Guess it’s a good thing that my 3.5 year old sticks to her guns, but it didn’t hurt to try to get the dark purple. :p  I will be sure to share a picture of her dress all finished!

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You can find the links to her first (of hopefully many) sewing patterns below.

Girls Dress Pattern – Simple Pillowcase Dress – Available sizes: 6 months – 8 years

Etsy: Girls Dress Pattern, Pillowcase Dress Pattern, Easy Sewing PDF Patterns, Sewing Pattersn, Baby Dress Sewing Pattern size 6 months to 8 years

Craftsy: Simple Pillowcase Dress Pattern

 

Make sure you check back because I have another pattern test coming up from a different designer. This one is more of a tutorial on how to create something using any kind of yarn and with any hook, and have it turn out right!

 

Mock Smock Dress Tutorial

My daughter Peanut just loves My Little Ponies right now so she was SUPER excited to see that they had MLP Mock Smock fabric at Joann’s . She loved the last dress that I made for her out of this type of material (so much that she wanted to wear it three days in a row). So, what better reason then to do a tutorial post about it up on the blog right! 🙂 This will be my first tutorial that I have ever put on there for a sewing project. These types of dresses are pretty easy to make so lets dive in!

First thing first… buying the fabric. With this kind of fabric you get a lot of stretch due to the built in elastic at the top of the fabric. What I like to do is measure my daughter around the chest then buy it at that length. When sewing the fabric together you will loose half an inch because of the seam. If you want it to be more snug then you could take  1/2 an inch off of the person’s chest measurement. But remember you don’t want to make it too snug so I wouldn’t go more then 1/2 an inch.

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Once you have your fabric in front of you, you want to seam it together. Fold the fabric in half (right-side in) and match the edges up. Now you just have to pin the two sides together so that the fabric doesn’t shift when you are sewing it. How many pins you use or if you put them in vertically or horizontally is strictly your preference. I choose to put my vertical when doing something like a seam, but when I do something like the straps I put them horizontal. I find it easier for me to pull them out that way in a smaller area.

Once you have your seam all pinned up you just sew a simple 1/4 inch seam from top to bottom of the fabric. Now you will have a dress for a special little girl!

But if that little girl is anything like my little girl, she will need some straps added to her dress! Peanut runs around and climbs on everything so a strapless dress just wont do at all. I went out and got some matching 7/8 in ribbon to use for the straps, of course Peanut picked pink. hehehe I wasn’t surprised by that at all! Her current favorite colors are Pink and Green. You can choose a different kind of ribbon if you want to. That choice is totally up to you.

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Now that you have your ribbon You have to see how long to cut it. What I do is have your little one put it on and directly measure it that way. I had peanut put the dress on inside out and then I took the ribbon and pinned it where I wanted it in the front and put it over her shoulder to the back of the dress. This will show you how long to make both sides. I like to have a good 1-1 1/2 inch over lap with my ribbon straps. Because like I said my girls are rough and tumble even though they love the girlie stuff too. Now that the ribbon is cut you don’t want it to fray over time. So, take a lighter and just run it along the cut edge of the ribbon. This will singe the edges making it so that it doesn’t fray. Once you have them singed and pinned to the wrong side of the fabric you are ready to sew them on.IMG_5826

As you can see I sew my straps on with a nice box and X pattern. I find that this is super strong and really holds up. I could have used a darker pink color for the stitching but I wanted to make sure that you could all see the final sewing design that I use.

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This is what you get! One happy little girl! It’s only 66 degrees here in beautiful Southern California but she insists on wearing it! I think this was a job well done.IMG_5837

Please share with me your Mock Smock dress after you make it!

 

The Importance of Gauge When Crocheting.

To be honest I never really paid attention to gauge when I crocheted, but back then I was just making a lot of afghans. With those you can kind of fudge a lot of things. But once I started venturing into other things like hats and scarfs I realized that gauge is really important.

Not everyone works up their projects with the same tightness so you might find that you crochet a lot tighter or looser then the designer. It’s pretty easy to figure that out. Almost every pattern that I have worked up (unless it really doesn’t matter about gauge) has some sort of way to see if you are working up the project the same way. I highly suggest making a swatch before EVERY project.

Some designers state the letter for the hook that they used while some use the mm size of the hook. I have noticed that between different brands of hooks the size could be a little off. I use both Susan Boyle and Bates hooks (even though I do prefer my Susan Bates ones) and the same letter hook has a different mm size to it. So, always check that before you start working.

It’s pretty easy to adjust your gauge if it doesn’t match what the designer says in the pattern. It you have more stitches in the length then what the designer has stated (ex: Designer says 10 sc in 4 inches and you have 12 sc in 4 inches) then you just need to move up to the next size hook. Start the swatch over again and see if that matches better.
If you work up a swatch your swatch has less stitches in the length that the designer stated (ex: Designer says 10 sc in 4 inches and you have 8 sc in 4 inches) then you just need to try moving down to the next smaller hook size and rework the swatch again.

Very rarely have I ever had to move more then one hook size either way.
Below is a picture of two hat bases, the right one was made with the size hook stated in the pattern without a gauge swatch…. the left was made with one hook size smaller. After I made the swatch I saw that I  had less stitches then the pattern designer. So, you can see how important it is to make sure the gauge is right… the first hat would have been WAY tooo big! You could actually fit the left hat into the one on the right!

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