My Blanken World

My world of boys, textiles and moving.

Sew seamless June 23, 2014

Filed under: Sewing,Sewing lessons — blankenmom @ 1:31 am
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I wanted to demonstrate how you can make a seamless elastic top seam like you would buy in the store.

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You could just sew straight through the elastic on this top, but it would make a very noticeable line across the top.  Which, unless you are adding it on purpose with a design in mind, wouldn’t look very good for this particular look.

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We want a clean line that doesn’t look like anything is really holding it up so that the pleates can fall freely.

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I’ll start by saying, all I did to measure this was wrap it around me.  I will also make sure to mention (if you didn’t read the other post on this dress) to make sure to measure it around your largest body part.  Once done, sew up the side seam or seams to make a long tube.

When selecting an elastic for this dress, I wanted something larger so it wouldn’t roll or fold.  I wanted it to act as a foundation and as a sort of facing.  It also had to be able to hold up a large amount of heavy fabric.  I believe this was 2″ elastic.

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Sewing the end of the top to the end of the elastic.  (Ok, you could really do this with the machine, but I was watching the World Cup, but you get the idea.)

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What it should look like when you’re done joining the two.

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Flip the elastic over, only showing the fabric.  Here is where you would normally sew it down, creating a seam line.  Instead, tack the elastic down at the side seams and any other inconspicuous places, making sure to add a mark for front and back if necessary.  (Some tops or dresses this isn’t necessary as it’s obvious, but this type of dress, it’s a bit harder to tell.)

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That should be all you need to keep the elastic in place and from flipping every time you try to dress.

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A very nice clean look!

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Bob Ross moment

Filed under: Church,Made by me,Places,Sewing — blankenmom @ 12:57 am
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… “You made a mistake?  Turn that mistake into a happy little bird.  That’s it.  A happy little bird.”

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If you’ve never seen Bob Ross’ show, you have no idea what I’m talking about and now officially think I’m nuts.  Go google him.  He was awesome.  He was also excellent at putting my first-born down for a nap with his quiet tone and calm.  I’m sure the hair helped somehow too.

But beyond that, he teaches a great lesson.  If you make a mistake, you can always turn it into something good!  I got a “two-fer” on this post.  The dress I just finished (and LOVE) was designed around a mistake I made.  And some people I have met at church have shown me that even when we make a mistake, God can use it to make something great!

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Let’s start off with my spiffy new dress shall we!

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Amazingly comfortable btw!!

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So you’re asking… “What was the mistake; it looks fine?”

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That nifty little pleat in the front and back weren’t at first supposed to be there.  It was supposed to be one piece of fabric, wrapped around.  That’s great when you wrap the fabric around your pathetic little chest to fit it and forget that you have an ever-growing posterior.

So what fit up-top, didn’t so much around the middle and ended up looking more like a stylin’ hospital gown with cheeks flapping in the wind.

So a back was also cut out and I figured I’d just gather.  So boring!  When I wrapped the dress around “Betty” for the night, I just really liked the way it looked.  So clean and simple.  And if I really wanted to add more, I could always add a pin or a belt.

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When I first realized what I had done, short-changing my backside, I thought I had ruined a yard or so of fabric.  But when I sat and thought it out, it turned out perfectly!

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Now, on to the people I met at church.

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On my day to volunteer, I had asked the woman who oversee’s our area if she knew of anyone that would be able to help us out with “that house”.  You know, a little business advice.  I obviously suck at this and needed some serious guidance.  She thought for a bit and said “Yes!  Can you come by next week to meet them?”  I of course said yes excitedly and even offered to volunteer again since I was there.

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After service, she brought them over and I explained the situation.  They talked with me a bit and I became sort of disappointed that they didn’t have much in the way of business advice as they don’t have rentals.  However (and that’s a GIANT however) what I got instead was not only much better, but what God knew I needed instead.  The encouragement, advice, scriptures, prayers and reassurance that God can turn a mistake into something amazing was much more than I was expecting.

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The place we live in now is called Selah, meaning to pause and reflect.  After meeting these people and a few others here, I really believe that we are here to pause and reflect.  Regather.  Recoup.  Learn and get ready for the next adventure God has in store.

Have you made a mistake?  Selah – Pause and reflect on God’s goodness.  The answer will come and His goodness will set things right.

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selah

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As for your sewing.

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Turn that mistake into a happy bird… that’s right… a happy bird.  Or in this case, a purdy little dress.  That’s right… a purdy little dress.

 

 

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Mistaken May 4, 2014

Filed under: Made by me,Sewing,Sewing lessons — blankenmom @ 12:17 am
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A while back I had promised to share a few of my sewing mistakes.  I went through my closet and found some of the items that I couldn’t quite bring myself to get rid of, but didn’t wear either because I *knew* what was wrong with them.

 

Some are obvious, some not so much.

 

It reminded me of a few items that I no longer have, mostly because they were *so* bad, I just couldn’t bare to look at them long enough to repair them.  *Lingerie that I overstuffed the chest in.  A nightgown that was poorly sewn and impossible to wear.  Tops that I didn’t pay attention to the grain on and they ended up longer on one side than the other and oh so many more…..

 

Why am I showing you these things?

 

When you watch sewing shows, read blogs or magazines, I want it to be understood that those people weren’t born with needle-in-hand.  They too had wonky seams, pockets that didn’t line up and crooked hems.  Granted some people are more talented at this craft than others, but by no means do they *never* have mistakes.  The exact opposite actually – the more creative the person and the better the designs, the more mistakes they most likely had beforehand!  You have to make several mistakes before you get it just right.

 

Let’s get started shall we:

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This shirt, in itself, is not bad.  The sewing is actually done quite well.  The problem comes when I didn’t pay attention to body style.  This is ALL wrong for my body, hits me in all the wrong places and makes me look like a fat old woman.  Which will be fine when I am, but I still have a few years until then.  Maybe I’ll just hold on to it until I get there?

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This top was obviously meant to be worn over a tank top.  I actually made it to go over a mandarin top that turned out excellently!  This however is just sad.  Very sad.  The sleeve caps don’t match and the ribbon edging on the front is pathetic.  I will be fixing this one, once I figure out exactly what I want to do with it.

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Where to get started….. To begin with, yes the print is FAR to big for my small frame, but have you ever tried to look for small tropical prints?  Yeah, there aren’t a lot of them.  Especially in gauzy type fabric.  This little item was sort of slapped together in an attempt to look “casually put together” (read: slapped together).  It’s terrible!  I will be taking the strap off, that dorky under-bust seam will go, and turn it into a strapless maxi.  Because we all know how often I wear dresses?

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This dress I’m actually very proud of – other than the major mistake I made on it. Here’s the back-story:

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“I custom-made this costume about 10 years ago.  I draped the whole thing.  Sewed on all the beads, some you can’t even see here.  It took over 6 months.  I made the whole thing on “Betty”, who is covered in slightly “sticky” flannel.  What a surprise when I put it on my body and realized I had made the opening to the dress far too big for my smooth skin to keep up!  In an attempt to fix this, I made a “collar” of beads to hold the dress up.  Fast forward to the churches Fall Festival.  As I’m escorting my four small children around the church, some poor, random child walks up the back of my dress and proceeds to pop off all the beads on the “safety collar” – the only thing that stood between me and nekedness.  AWKWARD!

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I love this dress.  I WILL figure out a way to fix this.  Idea’s anyone?

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And finally:

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How could you not love this jacket with that lining?  Anyway, the problems include sleeves whose outside fabric is longer than the lining fabric, causing sad, sad ripples above the cuffs.  Pockets that aren’t attached very well, that you can see the lining from the outside of.  And while it fits quite nicely, it looks sloppy when buttoned because the jacket isn’t tacked or sewn down properly to the lining.  This one will also be fixed – I just like it too much to keep it in the closet any longer!

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While there were more, and will be more in my future, I proudly hold on to these few as proof that it can only get better!

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Now go out and make some mistakes!

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Muslin: One of Life’s Musts January 19, 2014

Filed under: Hubby,Random thoughts,Sewing,Sewing lessons — blankenmom @ 10:49 pm
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My dentist man came home from work Wednesday and informed me during our hurried “before co-ed soccer” dinner that the company party this Friday would be semi-formal.  My eyes bulging like a cartoon character must have let him know something was up, as his next response was, “What?”

 

In two days, we had to have something semi-formal to wear, along with school, car repairs and still making dinner.  Not an issue to a man who has business suites, military uniforms and frequently updated work clothes (we won’t go into the 20-year-old flannels).  It was a bit more of an issue for a stay-at-home mom who’s necessity for “fancy” clothes was extremely limited and consisted of shirts without stains and jeans without holes.  It’s just not something I think of?

 

Yes, I could have run to the store and bought something…. and then proceeded to alter and hem it.  $100 to do what I could have just done from the beginning?  I think not!  So, bright and early Thursday afternoon I went off to the fabric store.  I must admit the local place is *very* limited in their nicer fabrics, but I did find a brown silk that would do just perfectly.  And as an added bonus, it would be my first time wearing silk.

 

And this is where that clever title above comes in.  The importance of a muslin in life.  After going over my measurements once again and shedding a tear or two as I cranked “Betty” to my new correct size, I began to look over the pattern size I would be needing and realized I was two sizes larger on the bottom than the top.  Three actually, but the pattern didn’t go that small on top.  *sigh*  It’s a good thing I know how to decrease.

 

Before even attempting to cut into my on sale, “you bought 1/4 of a yard too little” and “you’ve got one shot at this because tomorrow is the party” fabric, I made the first muslin.  Sure enough, it was too small in the keester.  As in, stitches were popping and no amount of shaving my legs was going to help it ease up.  And the top was gaping open as if to say “Seriously – you really have that small of a chest?”  No worries, I proceeded to retrace the pattern in the adjusted size.

*SLIP*  It went over the bod like butter and not one thread of my fancy fabric was harmed.

 

While this may not be a tale of woe or a super huge lesson on life itself.  Had I jumped over this step to try to save time, I would have had to show up in my fanciest jeans and nicest t-shirt.  Oh how impressive.

 

Making a muslin = no skipping steps.  You can use it as a metaphor for life.

 You’re welcome!

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I looked smoken’ by-the-way!

 

Shake your groove thing….. December 4, 2013

 

 

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The Christmas tree is up and the decorations are all, well mostly, unpacked.  I even busted out long-lost, slightly melted Christmas candles that made it through several moves, only to finally be lit by one slightly pyro 11-year-old with entirely too much glee.

 

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Last year we weren’t much in the mood to decorate, so we put up the tree with just the lights.  This year, in spite of being off our game and still trying to find our groove, we’ve broken out the whole sha-bang!  I’ve even begun putting up the banister lights out back (front?) so as to “out-do” that giant house across the way.

I may need to buy some more lights?!

I’ve gone so far as to look into hooks for the roof for this coming year so I don’t fall off while I’m up there – pain hurts!  A two-story drop would make me a bit grouchy and I’ve got some serious one-upping to do!

 

As for the sewing room redo… yeah, that’s been put on hold.  The second-born has been working on some pretty good drawings and he wanted a drafting table to assist in this.  We looked up some free plans and came up with a good table!

 

Can we say “wood shop”!  Darn homeschoolers – always making it a learning moment.

 

 

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Ok, so it won’t win any awards, but for the kids first attempt at woodworking – it’s not too shabby!  We learned several good lessons.  First being, check mom’s measurements – she’s sort of a flake!

As for my room, it will have to wait until after the holidays.  I’m swamped.  Not so much with things to do, just with thoughts and thinkings and wonderings.  Don’t roll your eyes – that can be exhausting!

Besides, I’ve been cooking.  I know – it’s scary!  Which seems to take an annoying amount of time?  I’ve even been cooking *well*.  I know – even scarier!  Which takes even *more* time. 

Being able to afford real food AND watch some t.v. while I’m cooking is working out nicely for the family.  Not to mention a timer that tells me when the food hits the right temp.  I can go downstairs to make sure the second-born doesn’t cut his arm off with the saw or watch the fourth-born play with the candle wax and still not burn the food.  It’s like magic!

 

We’re finding our places, a soccer game, a Christmas song, a first fireplace lighting, a youth group meeting, and a crisp, cold morning at time.

 

Until we’re fully grooving, I’ll be over here, getting wax out of the carpeting….

 

 

Sticking to it November 22, 2013

Filed under: Boys,Family,Sewing,Sewing lessons — blankenmom @ 12:40 am
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This isn’t a lesson so much, more of a “Hey cool!  Look at what I sewed and you could too!”, type tutorial.

Those of you who either have family or are in a line of work that requires name tags may already be acquainted with this type of set up, but this was the first time I had ever seen it done and thought it was just too cool to pass up doing.

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My oldest and his friend work together in a camp kitchen and for his friends 18th birthday got him a cooks jacket to match his.  He asked me to make a name tag for him though.  But not just an ordinary name tag.  He wanted one that said his friends last name on one side for when the bosses were there, but on the opposite side had another name entirely.

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…. yes, you’re reading the bottom one correctly ….

At first I thought Velcro?  The small dot kind that you would use on purses?  I even bought them.  But the idea of how nifty it would be to have a name tag you could just “slap” on?!  The hunt began….

The normal type of name tag magnet wouldn’t work for this application however.  Because I needed to flip the tag, the polar’s wouldn’t work when we flipped it around.  But I am so keeping these in mind for future use!

So I turned to these little guys – plus, I didn’t have to wait for shipping.

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Extra strong “rare earth” magnets.  The small one went into the name tag.  The bigger one, on the back of the shirt.  Mind you, the smaller one is the size of an eraser head and the bigger one is smaller than a dime.  They are pretty heavy, but not so heavy as to shift the shirt, which was another concern with the larger magnet.

After finding the right kind of magnet to do the job, I made the name tag.  Embroidery machines rock!  I made two separate name tags and using clear thread, put them together.  I could have used hot glue, but I thought that might give it too much bulk.  However, if I were to do this over, I would use my embroidery machine for just the words and my serger for the outer lines.  But this still looks pretty good – just hard to match up edges.

Before putting them together, I made little pouches to put the smaller magnets in.  The reasoning behind pouches instead of hot gluing the magnets down was so that when you changed sides of the name tag, the magnets could flip to the correct polar’s.  If I were to glue them down, they would resist each other when turned to the other side and it would be pointless.  (There’s your science lesson for the day.)

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Small pouches, one on each side, both holding the smaller magnets sandwiched between name tags.

I hand stitched the inner edges and allowed the clear thread to catch the outer edge so that the pouch would stay put.  Then the two patches were sewn together.

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Now to sew in some tiny pouches to the inside of the jacket front.

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Also hand-stitched, two pockets, to the inside of the jacket.  Allowing the magnet inside to move freely.  (Yes, I forgot to take a pic of the inside of the jacket.)

One new fancy patch – that will “snap” right on to the shirt.  C’mon – how cool is that!?

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I promise I ironed it after this.

Pretty spiffy eh!

 

Happy Trails – sewing on the go September 23, 2013

 

 

Since I’m sitting here bored, without any of my belongings, I figured I should probably do a quick “tutorial” on sewing while traveling. 

 

Why?

 

Because if I had taken my own advice, I’d at least have a bit of sewing with me – or even my machine and I wouldn’t be watching a Star Trek marathon (the original to Voyager)…. again.  

 

Ok, I probably would be, but with my sewing machine wirrrrring next to my laptop as it played.

 

 

First – is it actually possible to take your sewing with you?

 

Of course!  For just hand sewing, there are so many different types of sewing baskets available, you could be stylish AND have something to do.

You could have vintage to traditional to just your style.

 

 

 

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Even a tackle box would work if you’re not picky about what it looks like.

 

Make sure you’ve got everything you think you might need.  But usually you can find it in a smaller scale.  You probably won’t be cutting out any dresses on your hotel room floor, so large scissors probably won’t be necessary.  Do remember your thimble for hand sewing.  Unless you enjoy pain, or have no feeling left in your fingertips, you’ll want something for those hand needles.

 

 

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This is probably a bit more then you’ll actually need – but you get the idea.

 

For those of us who like to bring their sewing machine with them, for say… classes, moves, long vacations, a craft night at your friend’s house or sewing with the other parents for a school function – what ever your reason, there is a way to safely and conveniently move your sewing machine AND your serger if you have one.

Several companies make varying styles of bags, roller bags, totes and luggage to carry your not-so-little precious all over and back.  As always, it comes down to price and style.

Whether your going for the quick and easy Joann’s at 50% off or the “matchy-matchy” whole darn set.  There is a right one for you.

One of my personal favorites, due to the functionality and color choices is Tutto.  How can you go wrong with that many color choices after all!

 

Now that we have most of our tools and gadgets with us, let’s answer our second question.

 

Why would we want to sew while we’re traveling?

 

If sewing is only for when you absolutely have to – then you don’t really need much of these.  A mini-kit in your luggage will suffice for emergencies.  

If sewing is a passion, then a small sewing basket and your latest work to practice a little hand sewing, will do great.  After all, once you’ve seen one corn field on your move…. you’ve seen them all.  

If sewing is a little more of an addiction than say, crack – than you’ll want the luggage.  And as the ReFashionista shows us, there’s always time to whip-up a dress!

 

And for those of you, who are seriously, seriously addicted, there are, in fact, sewing, knitting and crocheting cruises and vacation destinations.  

 

Happy Trails!