Monday, February 23, 2015

Fabric Doll House & a Free Pattern to Make a Mini Doll

I've found the perfect project to use up all your little scraps of fabric, random buttons, lace and tiny seed beads!  Make a doll house and with all your random leftovers, create dolls and a wardrobe for those dolls. I feel like that book The Hundred Dresses, only instead of drawings, I've created about 60 articles of clothing so far. I decided to make four of these doll houses. One for each of my children's families. It reminds me of the time I made quiet books which were a lot of work but a lot of fun! Below are examples of some of those outfits and the adorableness of this fabric doll house and the mini doll I created along with the dolls created from the original pattern.

For this fabric doll house and my first group of dolls, I started with this 1973 McCall pattern:
I liked the portable house idea but I didn't like the handles on the side of the house so, I moved them to the roof of the house.  In the pattern, the clothes looked dated and the dolls hairstyles were so time consuming that after making two dolls, I figured out how to do the doll's hair another, quicker way (see below). Here's a view of the portable house's exterior:

Here's a few view of the interior of this fabric doll house:

Don't you just love how the bed was designed so that a doll can be tucked into it?  And that wardrobe on the other side of the bed, is just so great!  The wardrobe Velcros shut and holds all the doll's clothes which is one of the brilliant ideas of this fabric doll house. 

Notice the doll in the middle, this is the one I redesigned. I'm calling her the Livy doll.  On the original doll, the neck is just so chunky and her head seemed out of proportion to her body. I made four of the original dolls like the pattern directed and then I rebelled and redesigned this doll and I'm glad I did.

HERE is the pattern you'll need to make your own mini Livy doll. This doll has a smaller head and neck. I also added underwear to my pattern because a doll's bum shouldn't be exposed, right? At the last minute, I decided that the shoe pattern that came with the original pattern was ridiculously small and most children would just loose those shoes if I was crazy enough to make them. So, I created tiny shoes that are sewn right onto the doll and the best part is the child can't take them off. 

Make sure to print this pattern at the full image meaning the "fit to page" is not checked when printing this. Got it?  Print the pattern off & cut out the pattern from whatever ethnic color fabric you want your doll to be. Then, follow the directions below:

Are you ready to make a few dolls like this?  If so, you'll want to come back next week for two free patterns on how to make the mini tutu dress and the black and white sundress that are pictured in the tutorial above.  Have fun sewing this project with your scraps!  xoxo Grandma

Friday, February 20, 2015

Just Calling this a "Polo Shirt" - Refashioning a Polo Shirt

You're going to love this project because it's an easy, easy sewing refashion and the pattern is free. Here's how this project began, when I read about February's challenge for Project Run and Play to create an article of clothing for a child using Living with Punks  pattern called Mademoiselle Muscle Tee, I wasn't sure which direction to take. Then I read that Frances Suzanne, is having a "Free For All" this month too.  The title made me curious, what on earth is a free for all? I learned that this is where those who sew are encouraged to make clothing for a child using a free pattern and then share what they've created.  I'm so happy to link this easy refashion up to both parties.  
I also made this boy a fabric shark. It is a free pattern too and can be found HERE at Patchwork Posse.
 The comedian that he is, you'll notice his new shark in a few of these photos.
I decided to make a new shirt for one of my grandsons. Now, please note that no one is allowed to tell my grandson that "mademoiselle" means "little lady" in French because he would not like this new shirt I made for him if he knew I used a "girl" pattern to make him something.  I'm just going to tell him it's a polo shirt. 

For the fabric, I decided to use one of my husband's shirts.  I'm not sure why my husband decided to put this shirt in our pile for charity because the shirt looked great on him. But he did so I decided to just go with the flow and refashion it.  When I knew I'd be flying cross country this weekend to visit my grandchildren and welcome grandchild number 9 into our family, I started to make a few grandma gifts to take with me... like this shirt. I decided to see if I could turn my husband's classic polo shirt into a boy's size polo shirt.

Here's what I did, from the original shirt, I cut off the sleeves.  Next, I carefully folded the shirt in half, laid the pattern so that the "cut on the fold" was along the folded shirt then I cut out the front of the shirt keeping part of the shoulder seams and all of the original neckline intact.  Keeping the original neckline intact is super important! Then, I pinned the back shoulder seam of the pattern to the front shoulder seam (folding over the seam allowance) and cut out the back of the pattern. This is how this step looked - you know, just in case you want to try this project at home too.

Next, I scaled down the sleeves by cutting off the knit cuff, cutting the length of the sleeves and then the width of the wrists down to a size 5.  Then, I reattached the knit cuff.  I took those "new" sleeves and pinned them onto the new armholes and sewed them back in place. 

Once the sleeves were sewn, I pinned the side seams, matching the stripes.  Which matched perfectly I might add.  
Then I sewed the side seams together.  The final step to this shirt was to hem it.  I first turned up the edge one inch and pinned it in place. Then I used my lovely hemming stitch to finish off the bottom of this shirt. This finishing step was so so easy!
Turn the shirt right side out and in about 1 1/2 hours, I had a new shirt to give to my fun-loving grandson and it didn't cost me anything except the thread.  I like that kind of low cost project, don't you?

This is my cute neighbor trying the shirt on for me before I took it back east.
I wish the Nautica sailboat was a little higher on this shirt, but I'm going to leave it alone and call it good! I hope my grandson enjoys these gifts and never learns that this shirt is called anything more than a polo shirt!   xoxo Grandma

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Vintage Looking Baby Peasant Shirt - a Refashion & Free Pattern

I originally made this shirt from a table runner for my oldest daughter's baby and was so happy when I realized it got passed down to my youngest daughter for her little girl.  I love that my children share their baby clothes with each other!  Nearly a year and a half ago, after my youngest daughter saw this vintage looking baby shirt, she commented that she wished she had a girl that could wear it. My mother always warned me to be careful what you wish for because it just may come true.  And of course, it happened.  Eight months ago that baby girl of mine gave birth to this darling baby girl of her own.

Earlier this week, I finally got around to recreating this peasant shirt pattern in two different sizes: 6 month and 12 month.  If you want to create this vintage looking baby shirt, go to THIS post and download the free pattern.  Peasant shirts are so easy to sew together but if you've never made one, there is also a tutorial HERE on how to make a peasant shirt.  If you need a different size pattern, I found several free patterns HERE and HERE.

To make the baby shirt pictured in this post, you'll cut the sleeves edge and hem along the edge of the table runner. You also need to adjust the pattern just a little by shortening the sleeve's hem to 6 inches long. I also added two casings to this shirt. The first casing is at the bottom of the sleeves and the next casing was added 1 1/2 inch below the armholes. To add the chest casing, I sewed 1/2" white bias tape to the wrong side of the fabric and then added elastic into that casing using the babies chest measurement.  

This peasant shirt pattern works great with classic linens.  If you don't have anyone who wants you to cut up their table clothes or table runners, go to your local thrift shop or a garage sale and see what treasure you can find to use with this pattern.  There is a lot out there if you know where to look.

For more close-up details of this vintage looking baby shirt, go to THIS post.   I hope you enjoy creating vintage clothing using linens, because I sure do.   xoxo Grandma

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Tablecloth Into a Shirt - Tutorial & Refashion

I love clothing made out of linens and lace!  I found this ivory tablecloth for $5 at a thrift store and decided to turn this classic into a peasant shirt for my granddaughter. This tablecloth has pretty cut-work lace edges and cut-work around the center too.

As you can see, it took two separate photo shoots to get these photos, so you could see how cute this refashioned tablecloth looks sewn up as a shirt.  The finished length of the sleeves is 8" and the finished length of the shirt is 12".

My granddaughter got mad when I pulled a handful of sand out of her mouth...what a mean grandmother!

If you want to turn a tablecloth (or something similar) into a shirt, here's what you'll need to do.  When cutting out the pattern, line-up the pattern's hems along the edges of the tablecloth.  The advantage of doing this is the shirt wouldn't need any hemming.  HERE's a free pattern to use to make this classic peasant shirt.  It's available in two sizes: 6 month & 12 month baby.  If these sizes aren't what you need, there are a lot of free patterns available for peasant shirts on the internet so start searching and I know you'll find the right size for your project.

Supplies needed:
  • A tablecloth
  • Bias tape the same color as the tablecloth
  • Thread
  • This pattern
  • 3/8" elastic
Now, here's how to make that shirt:
  1. Cut out the pattern pieces and making sure the hem lines up with the finished edge of the table cloth.
  2. Sew the sleeves to the front back and top pieces as shown. Attach both sides.
  3. To the neck, unfold one edge of single fold bias tape and sew to the edge of the neck.
  4. Now iron the bias tape to the wrong side of the neck.
  5. Sew close to the edge of the bias tape.
  6. Measure around the babies neck, add an additional 2 inches extra so the shirt slips easily over the babies neck.  Using 3/8" elastic cut the elastic for the neck.
  7. 3" from the bottom of the sleeve, sew on bias tape the same color as the tablecloth.
  8. Thread elastic the length of the babies upper arm through the seam tape on both sleeves.
  9. Sew the side seams.
You're finished!  No hems for this shirt!  I hope you like this pattern.  If you have a favorite peasant shirt pattern, use it instead of the one I created. I'd love to know if you plan to try this technique.  xoxo Grandma

FYI: I used the center of this tablecloth, cut around the edges to make a doily and then used that doily to make THIS doll skirt.

Linked to: Frances Suzanne, Nap-Time Creations, Smart Party Planning, Threading My Way

Friday, February 13, 2015

2 Shirts & 1 Skirt = a Dress - a Easy Refashion

If you read my last post, you know it was Kids Clothes Week this past week. I'm so glad I participated, because I got a ton done! 

In addition to the leggings I showed you here, here is another project I was able to complete for Kids Clothes Week: a toddler dress refashioned from two shirts and one skirt.  This is one of the easiest refashions I've ever put together! As I was rummaging through my stack of stuff to refashion, I came across two shirts and one skirt that coordinated. I love the happy peach and pink colors mixed with the white in the Gap shirt. It makes me feel like spring is almost here.

If you'd like to refashion a shirt or two along with a skirt then read along to learn how you can do it too.  

First, I cut off three inches from the bottom of the floral top.  Then I cut off the bottom part of from the second shirt.  

Next, I cut a piece from the white skirt 1 1/2 inches shorter than the shirt bottom and the same width as the shirt bottom. (Of course, I saved the rest of that skirt for another project.)

Now, line-up the shorter fabric (skirt) onto the wider fabric (shirt) and run a gathering stitch through both layers.  Gather the fabric and pin onto the floral top.  Sew through all layers and voila-- your dress is completed!  The best part of this project was that in less than an hour I had a cute new dress to ship off to a granddaughter.  If you try this, let me know.   Okay?   xoxo Grandma

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Adult Leggings Refashioned into Baby Leggings

Last week was Kids Clothes Week , an event where participants commit to sewing at least one hour every day for a week.  I choose to participate... only with a little twist. I do my sewing everyday but Sunday. And on Saturday, I get in as much sewing as possible and stay up way too late sewing and watching old movies. Well, this time the goal was to recycle, which if you follow my blog, you know is one of my favorite things to do.

The first project I worked on last week was recycling a pair of jean stretch leggings (also known as jeggings) that looked great on my tall, lean daughter. That is, until we went on this roller slide in Okinawa, Japan and she ripped a nice sized hole in the seat of her pants.  She kept saying that these were her favorite pants but the hole was just too big to salvage them for her. So although I couldn't fix them for her, I did what any good mother/grandmother would do...

I cut her leggings into two pairs of baby leggings for her daughter.  For one pair, I retained the original hem and for the other pair I retained as much of the original top of the leggings as possible to fit that adorable baby (pictured above with her mother wearing those once deemed "favorite leggings").

I decided to spruce up one of the pairs of jeggings a bit. So, I used a linen napkin to add a little ruffle to the bottom of the pair of leggings that I retained the original top.  I cut the napkin into 2, two-inch strips. Then I gathered the strips and sewed them onto to the hem of the leggings.  The last part of the refashion was to unpick the pockets and scale them down by cutting off about 1 inch from each side and an inch from the bottom.  I resewed the pockets about 3 inches higher so they'd fit on my granddaughters bum (you gotta cover up those diapers, you know). The thread color I used for this project had to match the existing thread, so when I top stitched it would look like it belonged.  Once that was completed, I sewed the crotch together.  

The second pair of leggings was super easy to sew because I used the original hem and kept this pair simple and basic.  

The end result was being rewarded with two pairs of baby leggings all from one adult pair of leggings. Baby 2, Mom 0.  My daughter could have just thrown these leggings away, but what fun would that have been for me?   xoxo Grandma

Linked to:  Creating My Way to Success

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Coral Dyeing Experience - Fun & Easy Fabric Art

A few weeks ago, I went to Okinawa, Japan to visit my daughter's family.
While looking for a place to park to tour Shuri Castle in Naha, we came across a cute shop called Shuri Ryusen.  At this quaint shop, I noticed beautiful scarfs and other fabrics which were decorated with coral stamped images. When we entered this shop, we were handed a brochure in English, which explained that they offered classes to learn this technique. I was smitten, I had to attend this class. We signed up immediately.

Photo not taken by me it can be found HERE.
So, one of the last things my daughter and I did before I left Okinawa was take a coral dyeing class at this shop.  While briefly instructed in English on how this technique is applied to fabrics, soft Japanese music played in the background making this shop a peaceful haven for creativity.  

We were first instructed to choose what we wanted to stamp on.  A few of the items we could decorate were a t-shirt, scarf or a tote bag. We chose to decorate scarves.

Next, we were shown four dyes (red, yellow, blue and purple) and how to apply them using a stamping tray. We were also given a chart which showed us how to mix the dyes to make other colors.

The tables held a lot of different corals with a variety of textures on each one.  The smaller pieces were adhered to cement blocks.  There were really large coral pieces too.  All the coral pieces were cut flat so the fabrics would easily lay down onto the coral.  If the coral was smaller, once the fabric was laid down onto the coral, an elastic was stretched over the fabric to keep it in place while you rubbed the dye over the fabric.

A small sponge was wrapped in a cloth which we blotted into the dye.  Then the sponge was rubbed across the surface of the coral.  The lightest dye color was to be applied first followed by darker colors.

The coral dyeing experience was supposed to take just 30-40 minutes but we took a lot longer because we were having so much fun!  

Once we finished our designs, we were invited to go upstairs into a designers studio to watch other artists dyeing fabric items.  Here's another detailed article about this shop.

Here are a few coral designed items that I thought looked great:

Here's how my scarf turned out:

Does coral dyeing sound like something you'd like to try? If so, you'd first need some coral. If collecting coral, be careful not to remove any live pieces from the ocean especially red and black coral because that would be forbidden according to international laws. Luckily, coral that has washed up on the beach is alright to collect but it would be advisable to check the local laws to confirm before you put pieces into your suitcase. If you already have some coral, you are on your way to a very fun craft project.

This is such an easy and fun fabric art technique! I hope you try it! 
xoxo Grandma