Friday, November 30, 2012

Button Banner Advent Calendar Tutorial

This was originally posted on So You Think You're Crafty last week, bringing it home in case you missed it.

Button Banner Advent Calendar Tutorial

We enjoy celebrating Advent with all 3 of our children. We have done all different types of Advent calendars which are countdown calendars where you count down the days until Christmas: pocket banner, paper cake, PLAYMOBIL in jars, but for this one I thought it would be nice to have one that isn't filled with a sugary treat, toy, etc. Today I'm going to show you how to make the Button Banner Advent Calendar which is quite simple to make, it is a banner that can be hung on the wall, and has 24 buttons that represent the first 24 days of December. The 2 felt poinsettia flowers button easily onto a button on the banner, so easy that  a child can do it by themselves. The button becomes the center of the flower. The poinsettia flower is buttoned on the 1st button on December 1st. The poinsettia will make it's way down the banner until it is buttoned on the last button on December 24th. This is a very visual way for a child to see how much longer it is until Christmas.
 Supplies needed:
:: 1 yard silver ironing board cover fabric (yes, you can buy this at the local fabric store by the yard)
:: white wool felt
:: scrap of white linen fabric
:: black fabric marker
:: button kit tools, Dritz #14 (it's a fabric button maker you can buy at the local fabric store)
:: 24 aluminum cover buttons, size 3/4"
:: silver glitter eyelash yarn
:: 2 ft wooden dowel
:: paint (optional if you want to paint the wooden dowel)
 Step-by-step instructions:
Take the one yard of silver ironing board cover fabric, cut it in half lengthwise, pin right sides together. Sew 1/2" seams around 3 sides.
 Cut the 2 bottom corners, turn right side out, press with iron. At the top of the banner (where there is the opening), fold over 1" & press with iron.
 Then fold over 3" & press with iron.
 Topstitch at the 3 inches, you’ve just created a casing so that you can hang the banner on the wall.
 Now it's time to make the 24 fabric buttons. Using the button pattern and a disappearing ink marker, trace the button pattern 24 times.
 Now cut out the 24 circles of fabric.
 To make a fabric button, place the cut fabric circle on top of the mold. Place the button shell on top, then push the button shell down into mold.
 Tuck fabric into button shell.
 Place back over tucked fabric.
 Press down firmly with pusher to snap into place.

 Remove button from mold.
 Repeat this until all 24 buttons are made.
 With the black fabric marker, write the numbers 1-24 on the fabric buttons.

 With a marking pen, mark the placement of the 24 buttons on the banner. All buttons are equally spaced apart. The grouping of buttons is 4 across & 6 down, center this grouping of buttons on the banner. Then sew on by hand the 24 buttons.
Make 2 poinsettia patterns by drawing tear drop shaped flower petals. The large one measures about 6"X5", has 6 points and the smaller one measures about 3.25"X2.75", has 5 points.
 Using the 2 poinsettia patterns, cut these pieces out of felt.
 Cut a button hole in the center of each of them, large enough to button a 3/4" button.
 Place the smaller poinsettia on top of the larger one. Now the poinsettia is ready to be buttoned on the banner. Button the poinsettia flower on the 1st button on December 1st. The poinsettia will make it's way down the banner until it is buttoned on the last button on December 24th.
You can paint the 2 ft dowel if you'd like. Slide dowel through the banner casing and attach enough yarn for it to be hung. Tie a piece of silver glitter eyelash yarn to the dowel to hang down each side of the banner.

 You can have fun with this by making the banner in different types of fabrics and/or colors, for example how about making one in a raspberry pink color with a white felt poinsettia. Or a traditional Christmas color one in green fabric with a red poinsettia (like the example in the photos which is made out of green corduroy). Also another idea is to sew trim around the 3 sides of the banner, try pompom trim, ribbon, lace…

Tomorrow is December 1st so get ready to start counting down the days until Christmas with Advent calendars, I know my kids are really excited :)

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Raspberry Pink Sunki

Sew and tell here today. We already have snow here in Minnesota, so this long sleeve wool dress is nice and cozy :)

THE PATTERN// Figgy's Sunki pocket dress and leggings. Difficulty level ~ intermediate which I feel is right on, it's not beginner, but it's not too difficult (and not too time consuming). I really like this design, I fell in love with it the first time I saw it, it's so unique and I already have plans to sew at least 2 more.

THE FABRIC// For the pocket dress: super thick raspberry pink wool which was an absolute dream to work with and for the side panels gray quilted linen (remember the gray quilted linen vest?) For the leggings: thin gray knit.

THE SEWING// I sewed size 4/5. For the pocket dress: they offer 3 different sleeve lengths (which is really nice) and I chose to go with the long sleeve on this one. My daughter has gotten used to nice deep pockets that I've been putting in her dresses lately like this one and this one, so she was a little disappointed that these pockets weren't very deep. This pocket tutorial is very helpful. The dress is not fully lined, but the wool I used is super thick, so no worries. The pattern called for a regular zipper, but I prefer invisible, so I might consider using an invisible zipper in future Sunki's that I sew. For the leggings: maybe they are a little too long on my daughter, they look a little bunchy don't you think? I don't have much experience with sewing with knits, but they had some very helpful advice about what sewing machine needle & settings to use. During the first wear there was already a seam coming apart, not sure why, but should be easy to fix.

I want to try to sew all of my daughter's Sunday School dresses this school year. It goes through April and this is her last year. So far I've sewed The Little Blue Dress, the Gabriella Dress Knock Off, and this raspberry pink Sunki... more Sunday School dresses to sew...

Happy Tuesday everyone !

Thursday, November 22, 2012

SYTYC Guest Post

Today I'm visiting Missy at So You Think You're Crafty. Click here to see the tutorial on how to make this Button Banner Advent Calendar.

PS Happy Thanksgiving to those who celebrate it.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Gabrielle Dress Knock Off

left photo source
 {This was originally posted for Heidi's Knock-it-off series at Elegance and Elephants 2 weeks ago. Heidi sure could use some prayers for her daughter right now, so please pray for her.}
  I'd been wanting to sew my daughter a dress similar to one that I saw at an online boutique, I thought I could sew something very similar and save a lot of money. So I knocked it off, it's called the Gabriella Dress and it's from Marie-Chantal Children, an online boutique based in London, and the dress sells for $208. (Instead of brown puppy tooth fabric (or navy as is shown in the other color option for this dress), I used solid gray wool).

 Today I'm going to show you how I took 2 sewing patterns and tweaked them to knock off the Gabriella Dress.

I used the Fairy Tale dress, a sewing pattern from Oliver+S. And to add pockets to the dress I adapted the pocket parts from Melly Sews Clean Slate Pants.

From the Fairy Tale dress pattern I followed View A, but I eliminated the crinoline.

Instead of cap sleeves as shown on the Gabriella dress, I went with the tulip sleeves as shown in View A of the Fairy Tale dress.

And instead of a detachable store bought belt as shown on the Gabriella dress, I went with the tubular waistband (without the front bow) as shown in View A of the Fairy Tale dress.

 I adapted the pants pocket parts (from Melly Sews Clean Slate Pants) as I needed right angles in the corners of the skirt front.

 I then used those new patterns I made to add side pockets to the front skirt piece.

 Next, I added 3 box pleats to the front of the skirt (I kept it gathered in the back of the skirt as shown in the Fairy Tale Dress).
 I finished the pockets according to the pants pattern instructions. And I also added one silver shank button on one pocket, the button is non-functional, purely for decoration only.
 I had some charcoal gray wool leftover from a previous sewing project for the collar & waist details.

On the peter pan collar I added bias tape trim in the charcoal gray. To do this I made my own bias tape by using a 1 inch bias tape maker. I just wanted to add that I later had another idea for achieving the same look for the collar: the double collar method.
 One reason to do a knock off is to save money, for materials it cost me about $19 to make this dress, saving me about $189!

 As you may have noticed I ended up later adding a 2nd silver shank button to the other front pocket. This was done by my daughter's request, she likes symmetry, but it totally made sense since I bought the buttons in a package of 2 and the other button would have just been sitting around unused.
 I must admit that I am not a huge fan of sewing in (dreaded) set-in sleeves, but these tulip sleeves were a dream!

A warning about this dress pattern and one of the reasons it is given a difficulty rating of 3 out of 4 scissors is that it is very time consuming to sew ~ it's all those wonderful details.
 In the designer's (Liesl Gibson) words, referring to the Fairy Tale Dress Pattern: "I’ve seen dresses like this in boutiques with some giant price tags attached. Find yourself a gorgeous fabric and have fun with this one! People won’t believe it when you tell them you made it yourself."

My daughter has already gotten many compliments on her Gabriella dress knock-off, she loves it, and I'm very pleased with how it turned out, too, so it's a mega hit!
If you don't already own the Fairy Tale Dress pattern, then I highly recommend you buying it. I have already used the bodice pattern when I sewed the Purpledicular Dress and plan to use it for many more future dresses :)

If you like Oliver+S patterns you may also like some of my previous posts:
:: purple Russian nesting doll lazy days skirt
:: 3 lazy days skirts
:: pink ruffled halter
:: music box jumper
:: tutu
:: white eyelet ruffled halter
:: floral art smock
:: Russian nesting doll art smock
:: mittens
:: school photo dress
:: 5 lazy days skirts
:: sail boat pants

PS the modeled photos were taken at the American Swedish Institute (in Minneapolis, Minnesota) decorated for a Nordic Christmas.