September 28, 2012

Adding Half-Cap Sleeves to a Sleeveless Dress

Here is a custom/alteration detail that I am often asked to do for people.  It's a small detail that has a lot of impact!  

Aren't these sweet little sleeves...well, half-sleeves?

This sweet sleeveless Baptism dress was going to be worn by a little girl whose mother knew she would not keep a jacket or a sweater on, but wanted her daughter covered up a little more than the sleeveless look would provide.

It just needed a more permanent solution that would be as darling as the dress itself.

I found a piece of fabric that closely resembled the dress, and fashioned two partial sleeves.  If you have ever set in a regular sleeve, you are familiar with how a sleeve pattern piece looks - and how much time it takes to set in a whole sleeve!  With this method you only need to use the top half of it - the "cap" part.  (The pattern piece actually looks like a football).   And it takes less than half the work!

You can gather it at the very top to whatever fullness you choose,  or leave it ungathered.  I gathered these.

You can take the lining apart and insert the sleeve inside that seam or you can simply lay it underneath that top half section of the armhole and handstitch it in place!

There are a lot of options within this sleeve addition.  Have fun with it!  It can add a lot of personality to an otherwise boring sleeveless bodice!

Do you have anything you can add Half-Cap sleeves to?

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September 27, 2012

Studio Update ~ Homecoming Formal Shrug

Homecoming time is fun for me - I love the alterations and custom formal items I get to sew for my clients to make their nights special!

It's not so much about the football game for me - it's about the DANCE!

Sometimes a shrug can add the "sparkle" to a homecoming dress.

Here is where this story began: my client and her daughter were searching for a shrug/ bolero jacket of some sort to give a little more coverage to her homecoming dress.  They found a scarf that looked smashing with the silver sequins on the grey tulle dress.  This could do if they could not find the perfect shrug.  They continued looking for a ready-made shrug and had no, "Could you make this scarf into a shrug to go with this dress?"

"Why, yes!"  And so I did.

The silver fabric of the scarf was beautiful, but a very loose weave and I was afraid of it snagging too easily.  I also wanted it to have a nice drape without "sagging" off her shoulders.  

So I interfaced it with a lightweight interfacing - to fuse those snaggable threads together and to give it a little more body without stiffness.

Here is the back view of the dress.  I love the layered hemline. The back was floor length, while the front was to the knee. That cute "high-low" hemline.   

And did I tell you that this shrug is reversible - the inside is the same as the outside - that way if any spillage happens at dinner or some clumsy kid spills his punch on her before the night is over, she can turn it inside out and still wear it!  (Then dry-clean it later of course).

It is still shiny on both sides - but I thought I would show you two versions of this picture - one with the flash capturing the shine and one without.
I love where the shrug hits the back of the bodice just above the sequins - perfect!  

Isn't it darling on her?!

The hem was a little too long in the back at first,  so I shortened it to where it needed to be (here shown with hem redone).  I tapered it from the back around to the front, blending with the original front hemline.  It had to be the right height for wearing heels, but when the shoes come off for dancing after dinner and pictures - it cannot be so long that she steps on it!

Have fun, girl!  :)

What did you do for Homecoming this year?

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September 17, 2012

REPurpose: Make an Infinity Scarf out of a square scarf

I love these sweet scarves!  They are so easy to wear.  They can be lightweight for spring or summer OR heavier for fall and winter. And I just discovered a new REPurpose method for these babies!

I had this square scarf that I loved - because of the fabric/ print, BUT I was never wearing it because it was square and how do you wear a square scarf these days?  Then one day it occurred to me that the measurements were right to make it into an Infinity Scarf.  So I immediately set to work!

This scarf measured about 34" square.  When I make an Infinity Scarf from scratch, I use about 2 yards in length - which is 72".  This will double up to about 68" (a little less when everything is cut off) which is close.  Just won't be as long - still totally wearable!
I started by folding it in half and I cut it along the fold.

I cut off the edges.  You do not have to do this but with the contrast edge and the fabric being sheer I did not want it to show through from the inside - I thought it would look weird.  

Then I sewed the two pieces right sides together.

I folded this down again, long-ways, and sewed the right sides together again, making a long tube.

Here is the long tube sewn together.

I turned the tube inside out, then brought the two ends together,with the seams right near each other.

This whole next step is probably the trickiest part:  I brought the two seams together and pinned.  This is where I start to sew.

Start sewing just before the pin, and keep pinching the edges together, and keep sewing.

Just keep sewing around those edges, pinching a little bit at a time as you go.   Just keep all the scarf underneath out of the way or you will sew over it and have to pick it out - yuck! 

When you get about as far as you can go, it will look like this.  Stop stitching when have gotten as far as you can go,and backstitch.

When you release and trim threads from that seam, just tug both sides and it will pop back to normal, leaving you with a tiny hole (or bigger depending on how far you got on that tricky seam).

Just fold those edges inside the hole.  Stitch the opening shut, very close to the edge.  I always just make sure this is my back neck placement when I wear it.

You are done!  Now you can wear your old scarf in a new way!

Here's me wearing it - ignore the gooney smile - but not the cutie down in the corner :)

Do you have any old square scarves you could REPurpose into an infinity scarf? 

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September 7, 2012

Studio Update: Hair Bows, Personal Washcloths, Scripture Totes, His & Hers Placemats

Here is a sampling of the {smaller} projects I have done in the last week or so.  

Sometimes when a new baby is brought into a family with siblings, the new one gets all the attention AND all the presents!  It's fun for the siblings to receive something along with the baby's gift.  Here's one idea:  embroidered washcloths with each child's initial.  It's simple and each child feels a part of the excitement of the new baby!

It was a spontaneous lesson: they wanted to make hair bows!  We paused on the doll sundresses and made matching "best friend" hair bows.  

I attended a wedding reception for the son of a friend of mine.  They are a darling couple and I wanted to give them something "newlyweddish".  These kinds of gifts are sweet at the time because it commemorates their new marriage and the new changes in their lives, but later on are so special to look back and remember when it all began.  

Scripture Tote: "BLANK CANVAS".  This was designed for an LDS missionary to hold his mission scriptures.  His grandmother wanted to give him a special gift.  My part was just to create the tote out of artist canvas-type material.  She has another family member who is an artist and is going to illustrate many scripture stories on the blank canvas - I can't wait to see the finished project!

P.S. I will be selling scripture totes here.  You can contact me for custom orders.  More to come on that later...  :)

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September 5, 2012

Studio Update: CRIB BEDDING (Part 1 of the set)

I have a sweet client whose baby girl is in real need of a crib set.  She has been in her crib for a little while without a bumper pad and keeps losing her binkies in the night, down through the slats.    So mama decided a bumper pad would definitely help with this problem.  And of course that means a whole set, right?!

She chose some lovely and sweet fabric for her little baby girl's crib bedding set.  Here is the bedskirt -I just love this yellow printed with the purple butterflies.  Her drop to the floor is 10", and will stay that way when the crib is transitioned to toddler bed as well.

The crib sheet is a matching purple with a tiny polka dot print.

The bumper pad is always fun to put together.  This time I used the long tube method.  It all gets sewn up and then the batting-covered pads are inserted one by one up to the proper intervals, so they can bend at the tie placement.  (Do you like the rubber duckie my son got into the picture?)

 Here is a closeup of the bumper pad.  We chose a beautiful soft yellow plaid as the ties and piping to complement the butterfly fabric.

Look at all those pretty ruffles made from the same purple polka dot print as the sheet.

Here is a snag view of what it will look like when put together in the crib.  Don't you love the combinations?  

Wait until you see it with the comforter... (future post - we had to hurry and get the bumper pad and other things finished ASAP so baby girl does not lose any more sleep over lost binkies in the crib!)  

And now to get these off to my client so she can take care of that problem!  (I will get and post pictures of the whole crib set in place on the crib as soon as I can!)  

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