Saturday, August 22, 2015

girly gamer case... a sort-of tutorial.

K got a 2ds for her birthday that was just like her brother's except aqua and white. Since then,  she's been wanting a case for it... something fun and girly but convenient and practical.

I had this offcut from the runners I make for the bakeshop, a pretty medallion print cotton/polyester from Mood Home. It's soft but durable and goes perfectly with the colors of her DS. To go with, some scraps from her Easter dress in a yarn-dyed plaid for the interior pockets (this might have been from the fabric shop on the LES, not sure!) You'll only need a bit, not even 1/8 yd. of each.
I could spend so much time at Pacific Trimming -- less than 7" elastic, 1" creamy beige 1" and 3/4" magenta; about 11/2 yards of 1" teal twill tape; and a 18" custom-cut separating Riri fuchsia aluminum zipper. They also have 1" plastic sliders for the straps - i used three. I had some 1" pink nylon webbing for the strap from Joann (left over from the small backpack.)
(Not as cute but less trouble: colored zipper for just a bit of fun visual, elastic in black and whitetwill tape  and metal d-rings1" black webbing from Wawak Sewing Supply.)
I also used craft foam (left over from monkey wings) for support and stability, and some padding to help protect the electronics from each other... (actually I just used some craft fur a friend gave me, but hi-loft polyester batting would work well too).

The main piece is a rectangle 7 1/2 x 14"; sew on the pockets, 9x 3 1/2", with elastic sewn to the tops with a stepped zigzag... stretch the elastic as you sew so it can do its job keeping the charger/cord and DS in place.
 Another length of elastic (not stretched)  for the cartridges goes above the charger pocket, with dividing lines. (Leave a space in the middle for the case to fold.) A double-layer flap, 7 1/2 x2", with batting, goes on top of the DS pocket, so that the screen doesn't get scratched by the charger.  

The outside main piece has interfacing, then the craft foam (trim about 3/8" from the edges so less bulk is at the seams), then the padding. Put the assembled inside main piece on top, making sure the ends of the elastic are flush with the rest. Pin or baste all the layers together, and round the corners a bit.

Assemble your strap with its hardware: sew one end of the webbing in a loop around the center post of the slider, then pass the free end through one d-ring before slipping it back through the slider. Sew the free end around the other d-ring. Cut two 2 1/2" pieces of twill tape for attaching the strap to the outside main piece, and slip these through the d-rings.

Pin the small pieces of twill tape to the main piece sandwich in the center of the long edges. When you sew on the twill tape, it will finish the edges, attach the inside flap and outside strap, and close the sides of the pockets all at once.
Use lots of pins to keep the twill tape from shifting as you place it around the edges of the sandwich -- be careful not to pull too hard. Ease around the corners (I think it looks neatest to start and end in the center of a short end, not like I did at the corner!) and use a short straight stitch close to the edge of the twill tape. Reinforce the strap attachment loops on the inside if needed. 

finally, carefully pin the zipper to one side of the case right up against the twill tape's inside edge. Baste in place, then close the case so that you can pin the other side of the zipper. Baste this edge, then unzip. Sew the whole perimeter at once from the inside, being consistent so it looks nice on the outside -- and so you don't lose a lot of width.

And that's it! Put all the gear in the pockets and game away!

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Summer vacation clothes!

The kids have outgrown their warm-weather clothes, so much so that I have to look them over before we go out of the house! So some quick wardrobe build-up is in order for everyday, but also for our planned trip for P's birthday. Oliver + S is good for this simply because they're basic and a quick sew, and come out good every time... with some mods to change things up every so often!

Pants first -- I realized in spring that P was wearing his pants at the hip-line and that was why he still hadn't outgrown them in length... I made him stick it out a month or so for the navy uniform pants, but made these for knocking around and summer: Grey brushed cotton twill Field trip cargos; the loden viscose gabardine, forest denim and khaki polyblend drill are lengthened Sketchbook with snap/zip fly and buttonhole elastic. Since the khakis are for school (they transition to a new color this grade -- the main reason I didn't want to make new pants! :D) they have belt loops and reinforced knees.  

Next, shorts... three pairs for K and three for P. (Except that there were tears about the pink check being "too boyish!" (???), so I gave them away to another sewist's little girl.) They are all Sketchbook shorts with snap/ zip fly and buttonhole elastic, except the black ones which are a Ottobre jeans pattern. Her shorts are actually from earlier this summer, as she wore the purple ones for her birthday in the park. His are more recent, the green and gray are canvas from IKEA (!) and the khaki poplin can do duty as a uniform this fall.

Next is a Butterfly top, made from fabric I brought home from my 90's stash of country kitsch. She can pull it off, unironically.

 This is a mashup of the Croquet dress and Sunny day shorts... I guess it would be a loose woven cotton version of the "shortards" in my previous post. I'd gotten some of the Little Lisette icepop poplin and had been saving it for something summery and cute. The orange is Kona cotton.

Some quick fixes: since they are shorts, they can't be pulled on over the head, so I made the back opening longer so she can step into them instead.
original facing is in pencil, new facing outline is in red.

facing sewn and opening slashed.. the little bit sticking out are the ribbon for the button loops.


bodice pattern pieces... red is the new cutting line.

turned to the inside, with the button loops showing.

 I also took 2 inches off the length of the bodice to eliminate the drop-waist but keep it a bit blousey,

 and attached the elastic to the bow (which I cut in half and finished the ends) so that the bow actually tightens the waist. 

she looks pretty happy here, but really she only likes the bow and wants dresses. Um, I can do that too!

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Shortards! yes, I made up a word.

The latest addition to K's dance wardrobe: leotards that are shorts. Firstly, sleeveless for the summer, and second, one-piece dressing. I am very pleased with the slight changes that I've made to jalie 3138... added 2 inches to the leg length to make them more like shorts, and a snap-closure for quick bathroom runs. 

The first one, in a lycra swimsuit-type fabric; no changes except longer legs and snaps.

Lycra stretch , with self-binding and snaps.
The second one, with a little double ruffle and color-blocking in cotton knit... a little fancier!

Purple floral with a little skirtie.
The shorts part fits great! I might redraft a little because they bag around the armhole, or maybe that's just me and finishing the armholes on a regular sewing machine rather than a serger. These are great because no elastic is needed. 
Since she's dancing every day this summer, these will get a lot of use!

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Pirates we will be!

So, political and social commentary aside, pirate costumes are fun. The kids' spring music show had a pirate premise, and I asked them what they wanted to wear -- they both drew long coats... Coats befitting an admiral, or a captain, if you will, based on o+S School Days coat pattern. P's is a size 8 in royal blue poplin (flying monkey leftovers) with extra length and satin cuffs/placket added. K's should have been a size 5 or 6, but I was reaching and made a 7 out of gold and burgundy brocade with broadcloth accents... with a bit of flare in the front seam. I ended up taking big darts front and back to make it more tailored (and look less like a starlet's boudoir robe...) 

I determined that I would make them two items each. Seinfeld-esque puffy white pirate shirts will be left to cooler times (maybe Halloween?), can you imagine all that extra fabric on their chests? K's pants are Puppet Show shorts lengthened to below the knee, with elastic in the hems instead of bias binding. Her belt is a surprise star player from the Jedi/princess days, an oval with long ties made from stretchy pleather.

The hat is the top of the Bucket Hat, with a larger oval for the brim. I layered interfacing so that there would be a double thickness at the points of the tricorn, and toilet tissue rolls support the upturns. If I make another I'll make a fabric/interfacing sandwich; it just didn't seem worth the trouble for one day.

(Apparently when they got to school, face paint and an eye-patch happened to P, and K could no longer stomach the uncoordinatedness of her orange headscarf.)

Fabric from Vogue Fabrics/, fleece from, buttons and paisley trim from Daytona Trimming.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

plaid here!

... that was the actual caption on her drawing of her Easter dress.

She picked out this spring like plaid from my stash and drew what she wanted. Short and full lost out to longer and less so.

The o+S Fairytale dress has been my default for fitted bodices for her -- the armscye brought in a bit and the neckline made into a sabrina/ shallow boatneck for this one. Deep pink herringbone twill tape instead if a self-bow.

 though I sewed all night and finished it in time, Easter dawned with gloomy skies and enough chill in the air to need layers inside and out, so no good dress pictures that day. 

We waited for a bit of sun, bit still kind of cold to go sleeveless outside -- so these are by a sunny window (shy about smiling because she's missing a tooth on the bottom :D) 

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

hotdog buns 2.0!

I seem to pick long holiday weekends to do my potato bun testing... this will be a short post, because it's just a tweak of the original. But I do have pictures!

Sourdough sweet potato hotdog buns that are vegan (dairy and egg-free), soft and have a bit of a protein boost. I incorporated some tweaks from last time: besan flour, which is ground-up beans, has 7 grams of protein per ounce, and a nice pale gold color; sweet potatoes, which aside from giving the dough color, provide a bit more moisture and sweetness; freshly-fed active sourdough starter and reduced amount of yeast; and white whole wheat flour and high-gluten flour.
The tweaked proportions:
Make Sponge: Mix together in a mixer bowl:

150 g. cooking water, 10 g. dry yeast, 100 g. besan flour, 100 g. white whole wheat flour.
Let sit at least an hour. Add:

300 g. high-gluten flour
100 g. white whole wheat flour
Mix just until incorporated, then let rest 20 minutes. Add:

365 g. active starter (6 hours after feeding)
365 g. mashed boiled sweet potato (two medium-sized potatoes)
60 g. kosher margarine
15 g. salt
50 g. dark brown sugar
Switch to the dough hook and mix 10 minutes on low speed. At first it will look too wet, but as the moisture distributes and the gluten develops, the dough will come together round the hook and clean itself off the bowl. If it doesn't after about 5 minutes, add a handful more of either white or whole wheat flour.
Once it's smooth and silky and passes the windowpane test, round it out and cooking spray the top or brush with margarine. Cover and let rise 2 hours, turn out and give two 3-folds, then let rise another 2 hours (or what I did: ferment 1 hour, 2 3-folds, then overnight in the fridge.)

We made mostly hot dog buns, 75 g. each, but also two burger buns (4 ounces/ 113 g. each) and two soft pretzels.

Let them rise, covered with a towel... 

it only took about 30 minutes -- they should just touch....

and into the oven. 

Bake at 360 until nicely golden.

Look how yummy and golden!!!

Nice and soft, but substantial enough to hold up against juicy burgers and condiments. The buns, minus two which we just had to sample, get to live in the freezer for hot lunches... yum!

Monday, January 26, 2015

Flying monkey jackets!!

For this year's full-length ballet, the dance company did The Wizard of Oz, and they asked if I could make jackets for the flying monkeys. Of course the answer was yes! At first I was searching for costumes or bellhop uniforms, but those were either too heavy, too expensive or needed to be altered to be practical to dance in.
So from scratch it is! They needed 21 costumes for various-sized girls. This is what I used to go off of: 

And this is what I made: 

plus hats, of course. 

I chose poplin for the fabric; unfortunately I couldn't get it in the grey-blue that would match, but royal blue looks pretty good I think. I found this in the NYC Garment District, at A&H. 
The raglan-sleeve jacket pattern was tricky... I had a hard time finding a pattern for tween/teen sizes that would work. Eventually I combined the Field Trip and Nature Walk patterns from Oliver + S to make a raglan-sleeved cropped jacket. The size 12 worked well enough for the 27 inch chest, but for the other sizes I graded the pattern pieces. I left the collar off because they were smearing makeup as they turned. For wings, craft foam worked well -- I drew 3 pairs onto each 12x18" sheet and cut them out.
For the red and white design, at first I thought I could just stencil it onto the poplin before constructing the jackets. I made some stencils from plastic, cut with an x-acto knife, and tried it.
Straight-on fabric paint (actually screenprinting ink from dickblick) didn't work because the blue showed through. I realized that i needed a white background to paint the red onto, then still applique that onto the blue main fabric. I found 60" poly-cotton broadcloth in white from Fabric Wholesale Direct (a great online store, I wish I'd found them before hauling 15 yards of heavy poplin on the train!) Back to the art store I went as well, to get a silkscreen and a consultation... the trial also showed me that I needed to mix two reds to get the color I wanted.

After measuring my stencils, I figured out that if cut into 14" widths, the 60" broadcloth could lay over my kitchen counter and fit 7 of the back design at a time.
After screenprinting the design on, I had nowhere else to let them dry so I hung the pieces on the wall; I didn't want red splotched walls so I taped them straddling corners.

I then ironed them to heat-set. I did the same for the sleeves and the hats.

For the front pieces, I decided to make a stencil that could do two at a time and just flip it for half of them... after I'd made quite a few ;D! I figured out an alternative way to heat-set is with a low oven for 10 minutes -- just watch the time or they melt :(
After the fabric strips were heat-set, I cut out the pieces with a generous white border. 
Pinning, pinning, lots of pinning. 

Using the edge of the presser foot as a guide, I stitched the appliques on with a wide satin stitch and black thread.

Then the jackets could be put together, with the wings sandwiched into the back seams.

Then just hems and they're done! Hats are the 9-12 month Bucket Hat (from Little Things to Sew, and from the o+S website, under free patterns) without the brim. 4" rolls of interfacing and grippy clips from toptrimming... (they don't have them on the website, but do in the store)! 

and here they are in action. 

whoohoo! one of my biggest sewing undertakings yet. And that was just the jackets. There was also 40 red poppy dresses that took 4-5 appliques each,

skirts for the Scarecrow, Tin (wo)man, and Lion, 

 14 Emerald City tutus with 6 appliques each,

and trims for Glinda the Good Witch and the Wicked Witch. 

A good time was had by all... they even gave me a thank-you card and a show circle shoutout. Happy girl, looks like they have me roped in for the next 10 years!