Tuesday, August 31, 2010

How to create pin tucks: Tutorial

I am very excited! This is my first tutorial. Yayyyyy!

OK – Let me tell you how I got the idea to do this and why am I doing a tutorial for this. If you read my rest of the posts you’ll see that I like jumper dresses a lot! They are so versatile yet easy to sew for a beginner. I got some wonderful fabric the other day and I was thinking of ways to make the most out of the money I spent on them. I definitely didn’t want to go too crazy with patterns and tutorials out of the internet since I have no time to make muslins and wanted to work on making wearable’s right away.

I decided to make jumpers out of them with my own way of tweaking and adding details (is that called “designing” clothes? Who knows?). I have a beautiful Talbots polka dot pin tuck top that I love (Pin tucks on Polka dots, doesn’t that scream, Giiiiiiiiiiiirrrrrrrlyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy?). I love it so much that I decided to reverse engineer that top to see how they've done the pin tucks. See.....My technical profession is putting all that tech jargon into my mouth. Frankly I really don’t know the plain words you could use in lieu of the word “reverse engineering”.  It simply means you take something, and try to understand the ingredients and method used to create that – like when you think about how you could cook that delicious entrĂ©e’ you had at a friend’s wedding.

Enough already, right? Here is a picture of a pin tuck bodice.

And here goes the tutorial.

Pin tuck by definition is:
pin tuck
a narrow ornamental fold used especially on shirt fronts and dress bodices

And that’s all it is.

Steps to make Pin tucks on a jumper dress

Step 1: Gear up!
Gather fabric, lining, ruler, scissors and/or rotary cutter, cutting mat and any other fancy tools that you use. I don’t spend a fortune on all the gear and tools because I don’t do it for a living. Spending too much on hobbies/ simple pleasures? – NOT a good thing (according to me, spend it on food :-) ).

Step2:  Cut fabric
Line up your pattern piece or a pattern you cut out 1 inch away from the fold and cut your fabric. If you use lining, it does not need the extra 1 inch at the fold, so you can place it right under the pattern piece.

If you zoom in the above picture, you can see that I have a lining piece with no 1inch spacing at the fold right under the pattern piece.

Step 3: Making 1 inch marks on cut bodice
Now, we need to mark 1 inch spacing on either side of the fold. To do this keep the cut bodice piece folded. Now use your ruler to mark a line at 1 inch distance from the fold on both sides. (You can do this even before cutting the fabric in Step2, but I will need to turn the fabric and all, and I like to do it this way). 

Step 4: Create and Pin “Pin tucks”
Next step is to create the actual Pin Tucks. Take your time and create 3 narrow folds between the 2 marks on the fabric. Start with the left side.
Fold at the left mark so that the left mark is inside. The folds are 1/6 inch each. Make equal width narrow folds and Pin.
*You can make as many pin tucks as you want. Add more width to the fold when you cut to accommodate the pin tucks.

Step 5: Sew
Sew through each fold, taking holding pins out of your way as you sew. I chose right in the middle of the fold.
And that’s all! 
You are done!
Now work on your fabric as you’d otherwise. Narrow hem, add facing or lining to your bodice as you’d like. I like to add buttons in the pin tucks. 

Let me know what you think. I would love to see how my readers receive my first tutorial. Thanks everybody. 

Friday, August 27, 2010

A crazy week

I've had a crazy time at work this week. When does it end? Sometimes I just feel like quitting my job. I don't get to do anything other than work and chores during the week days. If week days are little chore days, weekends are big time doing chores! I know it's not just me. Millions of people like me get up, get ready, get kids ready, go to work, come back home, cook dinner, may be watch some TV and go to bed. This is the picture every day. Every single day!. Are we living life to the fullest or living just for the sake of living? 

I always imagine how life would be if I hadn't been working fulltime. I like to think that I will be home sending AN off to school, taking my time to chat with other moms (and not rushing away to get to work!), coming back home to send SN off to work with a smile, taking BN to tot lot, give her lunch, while she naps sew some awesome stuff (don't know what I will be sewing!), cook dinner, clean the house, launder clothes, when BN wakes up, may be go to the library! Be at the bus stop way before AN's school bus starts from school :-) and so on and so forth. 

I know none of the above mentioned things may not be exactly like pictured above. I am sure there will be a lot of yelling and stressing out involved. But if I learned one thing raising AN, it's that, despite AN being a real cry-baby until around 3 years old, I only remember the beautiful things and how good he was at several things. None of the colic, not-eating, frequent infections, waking-up-100-times-a-night seem to be such a big deal anymore. BN is such a drama queen now. She tries to pull all the drama out there on me, SN and AN. But I know 2 years from now, we will look back and only remember her cute way of saying "dawggie..." whenever she sees a four legged animal, we will only remember her excitement when she sees me after a long day at the day care/with sitter, we will only remember how she nags AN to play with her, we will only remember how cute and innocent her face looks when she wakes up in the morning... None of the drama, rolling on the carpet to get her way, would seem unacceptable anymore. 

All that being said, living in the present time is still hard, when life revolves around work. You could swear that you are not going to yell when AN does not listen and keeps staring at the TV, yet, when it's past 8:29am and you gotta get out of home by 8:30am, you lose it (especially when when clock is ticking and putting all that pressure on you!)

Even though, life's busy, I promise I am going to sew something this week. I have an idea in my mind. Depends on how the things I am going to make with that idea turn out, I am going to put that tutorial out there. It will be my first tutorial. Can't wait. 

Monday, August 23, 2010

New fabric in the mail!

I got fabric in the mail. Woohoooo…………

Let me start with my favorite. Here is the Amy Butler Belle Eyelashes fabric. I love all of her creations. But usually my budget is not as mighty as the price of these wonderful fabrics. So I couldn’t resist when I saw this on Fabric.com for $3.98 clearance (Wow!!!!!!!!!!!!)  I don’t know what to do this. Should I make something to wear for BN or just make something for myself? A top may be? Tunic? What would YOU make with a yard of this?

Now here are three different prints from Fandingo. I am going to make a dress for BN with Print 3. That’s what I know now.  As my imagination goes wild, I will find some use for the other ones. Aw..That Print 3 is just so pretty, as I look more and more at it, I am falling more and more for it. It feels super soft; all are 100% cotton too.

    Print 1
   Print 2
    Print 3

Next two are these super cute Kaufman courdroy. These are very soft, light weight courdroy. Perfect for fall, winter, and spring. I definitely know what I am making with these. Two fall/winter dresses for my daughter BN. I will probably go with a jumper with thin straps, so she could use it for atleast 6-9 months. Would you use a contrast trim for either of these?

Last but not the least is this beautiful polka dots print from South Sea imports. I am a big fan of polka dots. So is SN. That is one thing we can agree on 100% J  It’s 100% cotton. Feels heavenly soft!  This will also end up as a dress for BN.

I feel so bad for AN. I gotta go out there and find some boyish fabric and make him something. None of the fabric I received today are boyish. The truth is I am very afraid that it won't turn out right. I am pretty confident when it comes to girl clothes. With boy clothes I am not so sure. But I sew them anyway.

Presenting the pending pictures

Wow! Time flies. It's Monday again. 

I finished the dress for my friend AS's daughter H just in time for the party on Saturday. I used the Heidi Grace Premium fabric. I still have a yard of that left after 2 tote bags and this dress out of the 4 yards I bought. Anyhow, sewing during the weekdays is the hardest. Between work, kids, swimming lessons, Kumon, cooking and all other bells and whistles, it is rather impossible finding time to sew, except of course if you can sew during week nights. With me, that's pretty much possible, it's just that the next morning is always expecting me to get up as usual at 6:30, go to work at 7:50 and the life does not make it any easier for me because I had to stay up last night and sew! Hence I never do that. 

OK, so for the above mentioned reasons, I completed this project in steps. I cut the fabric as per the tutorial here on Monday. On Tuesday I finished the straps, Wednesday the chest piece, Thursday finished the skirt piece and on Friday I assembled the dress. Saturday morning, I did the buttons and buttonholes. Here is the end result! 

I made the skirt piece less twirly to give it a fall/winter look. The party was just so incredible. With everybody singing and dancing, (A visit from Dora too), it was pure fun! AS promised to take an action shot of H and send it to me. Can't wait to see!


Thursday, August 19, 2010

Back to School Shopping and what IS the deal with private schools around here?

Has anybody out there completed back to school shopping? 

I am yet to begin! I am waiting for the prices on Lands End website to go down. I love the professional look of their clothes, accessories et cetera. I love Gymboree clothes as well. As a new seamstress shouldn't I be sewing clothes for AN? Ha, well. I can't sew real good looking clothes for him yet. Trousers and Knit/Pique polos require, in my opinion, at least advanced intermediate skills in sewing and a bunch of confidence. Although I do have the confidence, I am just worried my son is going to look like homeless or just like Ugly Betty said - a garage sale (I love that show! Too bad they snapped it!). 

My son is not going to some fancy private school, but what mommy doesn't want her child to look nice and sharp, especially when he/she goes to school. I don't want him to be wearing clothes or accessories slapped with characters! 

There is a fancy private school very close to our house-really-very close! You can see it from your patio close! They have a very "nominal" fee of $20,000 for the 9 months of academic service for the first graders. My jaws dropped when I saw the fees. But I do have to say that the school looks so good. 60 Acre (wow!) campus, Perfectly manicured lawns, A huge play ground, Nice 1 or 2 story buildings, Security Guard, Cameras and what not. With uncontrollable lust I applied for a scholarship and received $4,000 for AN. Concluding this is an overkill and we'd rather use the money for AN's college (too sour grapes) we decided to enroll AN in the local public school. I really didn't want to spend the money on mowing the fancy school's lawns. I would rather spend it on dine-out! But the downside is every time I get out of the house, I see the above mentioned features of that school with a sigh..... Haa...

I don't remember if I told you. I would love to hear what you have to say! This is my first attempt in blogging, and I don't even know if I am doing it right. Will you please be kind enough to share your thoughts with me? No? 

Now? May be?  

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Tote Bags for AN's teachers and Bubblegum jumper dress

I know I shouldnt be thinking of making anything but finishing up the baby gifts I had planned. But a) I think I have OCD (that's my excuse) and b) the babies are not due until September. On Saturday I had to go to Joann and get some nice fabric for a couple of tote bags for my son AN's teachers. He will be leaving his pre-school/day care/summer camp for real grade school in September (yayyyyy.... on a second thought, hmmmmm..) and we wanted to thank his teacher and the assistant. They have been really nice to AN, encouraging him, guiding him and supporting him this last year. 

There are a gazillion tote tutorials in the Internet. I did have a pretty good idea of the anatomy of a tote bag, I took down some notes from around gazillion tutorials and went shopping for fabric. I got 100% cotton twill in khaki color and a beautiful Heidi grace premium cotton fabric for lining. I made one with pocket and another with no pocket but larger. I don't have decent pictures of it, but I will take some tonight and post those. Either way I so wanted to post this and share my excitement, because of my - you know - OCD. Here is a picture. And YA...it's reversible.

In other news, AN, BN, SN and myself enjoyed a pretty good trip to Six Flags. Although AN is almost 7 he was too scared to get on the Batman ride and other sick-to-your-stomach-after-riding roller coasters. BN was let's just say - nice. She is an almost 2 year old. You cannot expect a lot of good behaviour from her. We spent most of our time in the Wiggles World and the Bugs Bunny park. Mid-month is always busy at work billing customers, compiling statistics and the like. Bored yet? Well, I am stopping here, I was justifying the absence of proper pictures of the things I made. 

Next in my project list is a bubble gum jumper dress for a friend's daughter as a birthday gift. I have made it for BN before, it turned out very cute and perfect. The tutorial is for a 4 year old and my friend's daughter is turning 4, so I will exactly follow the tutorial measurements. Less than 4 days left until the party, and gotta get started! 

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Press your fabric while you sew? No Way!

Well, at least that's what I thought when I first started sewing. If you are a beginner seamstress who hates to press your fabric at the seams during the dress making process, you are in for a surprise. And that is when you actually try sewing with pressed seams for the very first time! Until then you don't know what you are missing. 

How do I know? because I've been there. First few weeks of my learning curve, I ignored the advice of my tutor, Judith Neukam of Threads Magazine (Did you know? she gives free lessons. Click here) and tried sewing without using an iron to press my seams at all. Everything was okay, except that you could clearly tell this was not the finest of the needle and fabric creations, it wouldn't even pass dollar store quality. Who wants to spend 2 hours on a sewing machine just to come up with a carelessly made piece of clothing? I don't. I would rather give 10 more minutes of pressing and get a nicely done dress or a pair of pants. 

Go on. Press your seams as you sew. It's worth the effort. Here is a picture of a dress I made for BN.

And here is a beauuuuuutiful peacock from my local zoo. It's gorgeous. 

Until next time.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Why I need a serger?

I don't know about you, but I have a hard time trying to sew with knits. I tried all the tutorials out there, everybody in my favorite blog list has tutorials/post about knits. I referenced most of the books about sewing with knits at my local library too. It must be something wrong with my machine (on a side note, it could be me :-) ). Mine is a brother CS6000i. It's supposed to do good, but it eats my knit fabric. I tried interlocks and jersey, with no luck. Now I am stuck to sewing wovens.

Well, thats not too bad. Yes, I am able to sew a lot of things for my daughter with Woven fabric. But hey - look who's standing there, sad, who thinks I love my daughter more? That's my son. I did make him a cape, and a tote successfully so he doesn't feel left out. But, boy! the sewing options for a beginner like me with Woven fabric for boys are so limited. You take anything simple for a boy, there will be some kind of knit there. 

I heard there is this wonderful machine called a Serger machine, that can do all kinds of tricks with fabrics, like cutting and seaming at the same time. My role models out there (check out the blog list below to see who is in the list) recommend sewing knits with a Serger. Well, that's why I need a Serger machine. I can make things for my dear son successfully and I can explore the wonderful world of knits for my daughter. 

There is only one teeny weeny problem with a serger. It's expensive, *really* expensive, the cheapest one runs in the $250 range and you know the thing with cheapest things in the market. So I am entering this post for Sew Mama Sew's win a Serger contest. I hope I win! If I don't I have to keep on hunting for a good used one. Either way, I want to, need to, would love to have a serger. My life would certainly be easier as I would stop *trying* to sew with knits and actually start sewing, my son will definitely be happy and me? I will be in cloud 9. 


Sunday, August 8, 2010

Gifts for co-workers' newborn girls

Since I know how to do a few stitches now, I thought of giving hand made gifts to 2 of my co-workers' new born girls. Both are due in September, so I have a month to think about it and make something.

In preparation, I checked out this Amy Butler book from the library, and I have to say, I am soooo thrilled to see all these ideas AND patterns for newborns. I will probably be making something from this book.

Sunday does not mean it's leisure time at my home, It means cooking, cleaning, laundering, and partially preparing meals for the week. Oh, Yeah, I also have started on another A-line jumper dress for BN.

Stay tuned, will post these and more soon.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Cute Cats Jumper Dress

Good Morning to my readers! Here is a picture of a dress I made for my daughter.

I call it the "Cute Cats" Dress

I got all my inspiration for this dress from IKAT BAG's winter dress tutorial. Thank you Lier for creating this awesome tutorial, did I say aweeeeesome? That 2 year old bodice pattern is just what I wanted. I made it using a light weight corduroy fabric from Joann. I started out with plans to exactly replicate Lier's tutorial, but due to my very limited experience with cutting fabric, I made an error and had to cut for the bodice and skirt separately. Then I had to invent a way to bind them together with minimal damage to the overall look. 

Here is an action shot of my daughter BN

Isn't she cute?. Being the little sister of a 6 year old, BN's very interested in everything his'. She wants everything that he's interested in, to her he is a super hero. Look at her, she is holding one of the guys from her big brother's truck set :-) Oops.. That bunny's underpants are almost falling. Well, BN is sleeping now, I need to post this, so I have to just go with this picture. Pardon the appearance of the bunny :-) 

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Welcome to My Blog!

I am a mom to two wonderful kids, a 6 year old boy and a 2 year old girl. They are everything in the world to me. This blog is largely about them, and my recently acquired (or have I yet?) appetite for sewing clothes for them.

It all started when I came across this book, "My forever dress". I was looking for books for my 6 year old who started reading on his own at 3 years (touch wood!!) . Although this wasn't exactly a book for him, I absolutely loved the idea. Now I like to give my children ever lasting memories about their childhood and I thought I ought to try sewing. 

Having had no one (absolutely no one ) in my family with sewing skills, it was a challenge for me finding it in me. To my advantage, I could clearly remember that I was the only one in my family of 4 siblings, all girls, to have any crafty skills. Anyhow I asked my husband -who nods YES to whatever I ask because it's easier that way (Is it just him or do all husbands think that way?, let me know.)- if I could get a sewing machine. He said Yes!! (Well I expected that). OK, I ordered Brother CS6000i from amazon.com. I got the machine (and there's a little funny story about that, let me know if anybody likes to hear that, I will tell ya.) and some fabric from Joann and started making clothes. To every single piece of clothing I made in the past two month, give credit to the wonderful bloggers out there, who take the time and effort to put the tutorials out there for people like me. I have a whole lot of blogs on my Google Reader for a while now. My favorite bloggers are: 

This is only the top 3 of my favorites, there are a whole lot of others too. 

I will start posting on kids, my sewing success stories and failures, my husband's photography and my little adventures with cooking as well.

Stay Tuned, more to come soon.