Ruffles Everywhere

A good friend of mine recently gave birth to beautiful twin girls, and while we were visiting, I asked her if there was anything she needed for the girls.  Her response was more bibs.  I love to make a variety of baby items and have made a lot of things for my daughter and my friend’s new babies as well.  So of course I am up for the challenge. I wanted to make 2 bibs that were similar in style and color, yet different.  As I started to do my research on Pinterest, I remembered bookmarking a post on a ruffled bib shortly after Chloe grew out of needing one.  They are the cutest thing ever and instantly decided that is what I would make. Jess, over at Craftiness Is Not Optional is fantastic, and I have made several of her other tutorials before for Chloe.

The first thing I did was to try and decide on materials.  As I raided my fabric stash, I found everything I needed.  For the back of the bibs, I found some pink sparkly knit; for the front, I found two different patterned knits that both match the backing material, for the ruffles, I upcycled some old tee-shirts of mine.

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I was going to need a pattern and didn’t have one already drawn, so I went and found one of Chloe’s bibs and traced it on craft paper.  I wanted it to be a little longer though so I free handed and extended the bottom.  Then I traced about 1/2 inch around it for a seam allowance and then cut it out and I was ready to start cutting fabric.

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Next, I cut out my main bib materials.  I cut one front piece and 1 back piece, but because the bib is not symmetrical I cut the backing pieces in reverse so it would line up right when it was time to sew the bib together.  I worked on both at the same time and took pictures of each step.  However, I didn’t always take the pictures on just one of the bibs so one step my show one patterned fabric and the next will show the other.

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Next, I took the old shirts and turned those into my strips for the ruffles.  I ended up using 5 materials and needed 2 strips of each color. I first cut the hem off my shirts, I then made sure it was folded so the side seam would not become part of my strips.  I wanted my strips to be 12 inches long and 3/4 inch wide.  Since I was making 2 bibs I cut my pieces 1.5 inches wide and then cut that in half to so I would have 4 pieces instead of 2.  Once everything was cut and organized I was ready to start ruffling the strips.

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There are a couple different way to make ruffles and I use a ‘cheater’ method.  On my sewing machine I set my stitch length to as long as it goes and turn my machine tension way up.  This way as I sew through each strip down the middle it ruffles itself.

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Now I forgot to make sure I leave the threads long at both ends of the strips so if I needed to make adjustments, I would be able to.  Instead, I sewed them together in a daisy chain to save on time.  Of course it really didn’t save me time, it actually cost me more as I had to figure out how to adjust the ruffles where needed.  Live and Learn is one of the mottos that applies to my sewing and crafting projects.  I sometimes screw up more than I do right but I always learn and do it better the next time.

The next step was to layout all the ruffled strips on the bib and pin them down.  I wanted to make sure to use a different arrangement on each bib so it would set them apart a little bit. After they were pinned, I sewed each ruffle as close to the first seam as possible at a regular stitch and tension setting.

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As a side note, after I finished this step I looked behind to me to find my helpers sleeping on the job.  Yuna and Piper love to help when I sew, unfortunately they are not that helpful.

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I next grabbed my backing piece and placed it right side up and then took the ruffled piece and place it right side down right on top of the other piece, so that the right sides of the materials were facing.  I pinned all around the bib leaving about 4 inches or so at the bottom unpinned so I would remember not to sew there.  I left that space so I would be able to turn the bib right side out.  I don’t have any pictures of this but I tried to put my velcro on the inside so it would be sewn in to the seams and be fancy.  But it was such a failure I had to pull it all apart and do it the simple way.  After sewing around the bib a 1/2 inch from the edge, I used my pinking shears and trimmed all the edges before I turned it right side out.

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After I pressed my seams and folded in the opening so it would close up properly, I then top stitched 1/4 inch all the way around.  Then I added my velcro pieces.  One piece of velcro goes on the front and the other piece goes on the back.  So you should have velcro on both sides of the bib.  I always put the soft piece on the backing, not sure why, but it’s how I do it.  Then sew on the velcro and the bib should be all done!

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Typical me, I realized then that since I can’t seem to sew the same line twice, the two stitches on the ruffles looked sloppy, so I went back with my seam ripper and pulled out the longer ruffle stitches so it would look cleaner.  I can’t wait to give them to my friend and see how cute they look on her cuties!

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Upcycled Flying Squirrel

After working on the Rapunzel dress for a while, I needed a break.  I came across this super cute tutorial on Wild Olive for a flying squirrel.  The best part is that the pattern is free!  It seemed like the perfect thing to make to de-stress about Rapunzel’s dress.  The tutorial is excellent and even has links when it lists a more technical sewing term, like what a ladder stitch is.

I went to gather my materials and realized I don’t have any light grey fleece.  No worries though, I have this habit of saving old shirts to be reused for fabric if I like the material.  So I found this grey sweatshirt and the material was perfectly worn in and would make a nice, soft squirrel.  I love up-cycling, and it makes a project even sweeter when I am able to create something from something old and unused. I printed the pattern and then cut all the pieces needed out. 2 tails (one in reverse), two head pieces, two body pieces.  Out of felt I cut four legs, two ears and a nose.  Now in the tutorial it talks about using safety eyes, I didn’t have any so I used navy blue buttons.

IMG_0052Next I started assembly of the tail, right sides facing and pinned together.  I sewed all the way around except for the top of the tail.  I ten flipped it right side and lightly stuffed it with polyfill.

IMG_0054The next part of assembly was to put together the head.  First I needed to hand sew the details on the face.  I put the nose on first, then the two eyes and then sewed the mouth on using 4 strands of thread doubled up.  After I finished that I place the ears on and then put the back of the head with right sides facing and sewed it together all the way around.  The next step was to rip a small hole in the back of the head and stuff it tightly with polyfill.  After it’s stuffed I learned what a ladder stitch was and closed the hole using the my new skill.

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The next step was to put the body pieces together right sides facing and making sure to put the tail and feet inside.  I forgot the tail until I had pinned it all together so I had to unpin, add it, and repin.  After I pinned it together I sewed all the way around except for three inches near the top which was used to turn it right side out after sewing and then ladder stitched the hole closed. I then placed the head on the body as indicated on the pattern which was not on the top but a little offset, and hand sewed with a ladder stitch all the way around the head.

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 It turned out super super cute and I kinda don’t want to give it to my daughter, Chloe.  I think my husband would like it at work as a stress relief toy, it is so much fun to throw because it opens up just like a flying squirrel.  I took some pictures of it finished outside and then Chloe wanted to help me show it so she played with it and I took some fun pictures.

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It’s Halloween Time (part 1)

Around the beginning of September I start working on Halloween costumes.  Ever since my daughter was born I have enjoyed making her costumes.  She has been a ballerina (2011), a lion (2012), and Fluttershy from My Little Pony (2013).

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The Pumpkin Patch 2012 (4)

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All these costumes have been what i call ready made.  Meaning, I buy the main clothes like the sweatpants and hoodies and add on the details.  Although this year is different. This year she has decided she wants to be Rapunzel.  I am totally excited about making her princess dress, and I am doing it from scratch. My mom made me a couple princess dresses but none as cool as Snow White. I don’t have a copy of the picture but it was awesome!  Anyway, I am making sure to get an early start because I will be out of town for a wedding for 6 days the week before Halloween.  I usually procrastinate and wait til last minute, but since I am so excited I want to take my time and make it perfect for her just like my mom did for me.

Yesterday, my daughter and I decided how the dress should look and we drew it out together.  After she went to be a searched online for other peoples guides to help clue me in to what i need to buy and do.  I am not following anyone’s particular tutorial but bits and pieces and some of my own ideas all meshed together. Today I went to Hancock Fabrics with a particular idea in my head but came home with completely different materials which is typical me. I picked up 2 yards of Matte Satin (Clearance 70% off), 1/2 yard of pink glitter tulle, 1/4 yard white chiffon, 2 yards pink satin ribbon, 6 yards white lace trim, 1/2 yard 1/2 inch elastic, a zipper, and matching thread.  Total cost: $19.78!! I think the colors are perfect and will look great all together.

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Now onto something totally new for me, drafting my own pattern pieces!  I’ve seen it done of several of my favorite craft blogs, it’s supposed to be easy, just take a shirt of the kids the fits right and trace it, then add a half inch seam allowance all the way around.  It was that easy but I had to think how I wanted to break it up.  The back of the bodice needs to be in 2 pieces so i can put in a zipper and then the front needs to be 1 piece that’s longer so I can insert the tulle in the center part.  The sleeves are puffy and I used the puff sleeve tutorial on Made.com as a kind of guide, I also used Made.com’s circle skirt tutorial for the bottom, I just cut that one normal and will figure out how to add the tulle as i get working.  Then to add the longer sleeve I just kinda cut a piece that will make a tube and fit her arm.

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This is where I have stopped for now and will keep taking pictures as I go and when the dress is finished I will make another post detailing the rest of my process.

Let’s Get Crafty

So I have written at least 6 blog posts but don’t really feel like I should share them because of privacy issues.  So jessicababbles is going to be more craft project oriented since I love making things.  It will feature tutorials on how to do my craft projects (like my yearly Halloween costumes or a quilt along), but sometimes those projects will be available to buy custom on my (future) etsy store if you just have to have it.  My goal is to do a post a week with either a full tutorial or parts of one as I work on it.  I plan on starting with Halloween. Stay Tuned.