Monday, July 29, 2013

he Beet me to it

A strange thing happened at our house last month.
In one of those Freaky Friday moments, it was like I was him and he was me.
Cause somewhere in the midst of my KID shorts drafting, drawing, and escaping at night to work on the pattern....Casey took up pickling.
Ya see, we were having dinner at a friend's house and our friend asked if we liked beets.
"I think they taste like dirt," he told us (always a great selling point). And then he offered us all the beets we wanted from his garden....along with some lovely heirloom tomatoes I should add.  Guess he couldn't wait to unload those things.  In fact, I came back the next week to get a photo of the beet plants and they were already pulled out! (with new zucchini in their place)
Well, Casey happens to love beets.
And he got super excited about this idea of having homemade pickled beets.
"Awesome. Great! We'd love some beets.  I'm sure Dana can figure out a pickling recipe. She's good at that stuff....or maybe I'll even try doing it myself"
And while I totally appreciated the DIY compliment,
I was trying to put out a sewing pattern using precious small moments of free time in the chaos of constant kid-life....and now I had to stall everything for 2 days to figure out how to can and pickle what was just sold to me as "dirt"?

That's how it sounded in my head.

 What came out of my mouth was, "thanks for the beets!"
...and then they sat in a bag on our back porch for 3 days,
till Casey decided to do something about it.

At 10pm on a Saturday night I settled in on the couch to check instagram while he casually mentioned he was going to the store to pick up some canning jars.  Really?  Wow.   You're going to start a canning project this late at night?  Of course, duh, that's often when I start unrealistic projects.  So I tried not to squash the energy and loved that he was really going to try this on his own. 
And he totally did!  It was really fun to watch.  He spent the first night prepping everything.  And in the morning, he pickled away.
He's a pickler.
 He followed a recipe similar to THIS (and halved the recipe amounts)
He learned tricks for removing the skins, figured out how to sterilize jars, realized what whole cloves were,
and took pride in his new discoveries.
There's a DIYer in us all, right?
Of course Casey's always been good at creative projects.  He installed all that backsplash you see behind him.  I appreciate a handy guy.  And now a pickling guy.
There you have it folks.
Pickled Beets! 
And then he told Lucy all about it.
She was thrilled.
The real test came 2 weeks later when he broke open the first jar and gave it a taste.
He cut the first beet into pieces for all of us to try (and shockers of shocks, the kids actually tried some!  They didn't like it, but they tried).
 And what did Casey think?
I'm gonna leave him to his 10pm devices more often.

Friday, July 26, 2013

KID Shorts: Pockets with Trim

Welcome back to our KID Shorts series.
You guys have been sewing up a summer storm and I love it!
• Check out what everyone's making in the YOU MADE IT Flickr Group. 
• And if you're on Instagram, tag your photos to #kidshortsmade (you'll find me @danamadeit)
This post is one of many tutorials that accompany the KID Shorts PATTERN, which you can purchase HERE.
So far we've tried Basic Shorts, Flat Front, Racer Shorts, and Front Pockets (click a button for the full tutorial): 

Now let's add another detail; a tiny detail with big personality... 
I love love love Bias Tape and Piping.

They add that perfect pop of color to clothing that might feel simple or plain (not that I don't like simple things.  You know I do).  But even with just solid colors, you can create totally stylin' shorts.
And we'll help you do that in a few easy steps, with both bias tape and piping
If you've never used Bias Tape read all about it HERE.
And, if you've never used piping don't be scared.  It's much easier than you think!

Okay.  Let's start with BIAS TAPE.
We're going to use our KID Shorts pattern, which you can purchase HERE.  If you’re using a different pattern or if you’ve created your own pattern, follow along with the instructions and make shorts with us.

I'm sewing the Flat Front version and adding Front Pockets.
Use the info in the pattern to determine your size and amount of fabric needed.  Then cut out your Front and Back pieces and Pockets.
Now because our bias tape is going to bind the raw edges of the pockets, we don't necessarily need to cut pocket lining pieces.  But...if your fabric is on the thinner side, I'd recommend the lining (plus it's fun to have a surprise fabric inside there, right?)  This yellow fabric, however, is a medium-weight twill/denim fabric.  So I choose NO lining pieces.  And here's what I got:
Now let's pick a bias tape to trim out those pockets.  Bias tape can be purchased in most fabric stores and online, or you can make your own.  It comes in various widths.  1/2 inch wide is my favorite and I use 1/4 inch as well.
I have a very detailed tutorial outlining all you need to know about Bias Tape and how to make your own HERE.  
And since I love this little trim so much I always a good supply on-hand.  So pull out whatever you have and do a test run to see which color grabs you.
It was a toss up for me between the orange and pink.  But mixing pastels with bolds is always pink it is!

Okay, this is real easy.
We're going to bind the bias tape around the two curved sides of the pocket.
Note: If you look at bias tape you'll notice that the back side is slightly wider than the front, by a fraction (see above photo). This makes the bias tape easier to sew with because it decreases the chance of sewing on the front of the binding and somehow missing the back of the binding with your stitching.
When you bind the pocket, make sure the slightly smaller side of the bias tape is facing up.

Now, with your bias tape pinned in place, sew it to the pocket (using a coordinating thread color...or a contrasting one!  Just depends on the look you're going for).  Sew about an 1/8 of an inch from the bias tape edge.  It helps to remove pins as you sew so you don't get any small pleats in the tape.  Of course if you do, no worries. You can pick those little parts out with a seam ripper and easily re-sew.  When you get to the curved corners, go slow and try to make it as smooth as possible.  
Then sew a topstitch on the outer edge of the bias tape, ONLY on the pocket-opening side (the part where you stick your hand into the pocket).   And your first pocket is ready!   Now follow all the same steps for the other pocket. 

Pin both pockets in place on the Front of the shorts (more info HERE), sew them in place by sewing on the outer edge of the bias tape (so it matches the pocket opening side), then finish off your shorts as outlined in previous tutorials. 
NOTE: you can also sew on top of the previously sewn stitch (where you sewed the bias tape onto the pockets above) if you want the bias tape to be snug against the fabric.
And we've got shorts!
....totally stinkin' cute, jump around, bright-sunshiney-day shorts!
Now let's take it one step further....
(Sorry for all the exclamation points.)
((Colors and trim just make me happy.  And goofy kids might have something to do with it.))
Think they're related?
Okay, back to the task at hand.
Piping pockets.

Piping is basically bias tape, with cord or rope sewn in the the color pops out from the pocket in a 3 dimensional way.
It gives a slightly different effect as bias tape and it's sewn a slightly different way.  You can purchase piping in most fabric stores and online (check and you can make your own as well (tutorial to come, one of these days).
Piping is not a binding, meaning, it won't finish off the raw edges of the fabric.  It needs to be sewn between two layers of fabric, like a piece of cheese in a grilled cheese sandwich.
So, use your KID Shorts pattern to cut out 2 pocket pieces and 2 Lining pieces.  Then grab your piping and let's get started.
Note on store-bought piping that---just like the Bias Tape---there is a Right side (or Front side) and a Wrong side (or Back side).  The Right side has nicer stitching.   And since some of that stitching will show on the finished garment, it's important to pay attention to which side is which.
Now your gut might be telling you to lay the piping on the pocket, lay the lining pocket over the top, pin that sandwich together and grill the grilled cheese out of it.
That's mostly true.
But we're going to do it sections to ensure a really nice finish.
So.  Yes.  Lay the piping around the curved sides of the pocket, just as we did with the bias tape.
You want the raw edges of the piping facing out, so it's lined up with the raw edge of the pocket.   And make sure the right side of the piping (the side with the nicer stitching) and the right side of the fabric are facing each other.

Now sew it in place using your zipper foot.
I know, I just scared you off with the words zipper foot.
Come on back!
Most machines come with a zipper foot...and if you don't have one, just use your standard sewing foot and wing it.  Sewing is always an adventure; never let your machine stop you.  
You can also buy a piping foot for this very purpose but I don't have one, and my zipper foot works fine, so I like to keep it simple.

With your zipper foot on your machine, you want to sew as close as you can to that existing stitch that's already on the piping.  Sew right on top of it if you can.  And if you can't, it's cool because that existing stitch will show (mine does) and it still looks pretty.

Sew both piping sides in place:
And now it's sandwich time.

Lay the pocket lining piece over the top (with right sides of the fabric together), pin it in place, and sew the lining the same way we did above using your zipper foot.
When you're done, clip the curved corners of the pocket by snipping small 1/4 inch clips into the seam.   This helps the pocket lay flat when turned right-side out.

Now turn your pocket right-side out, IRON it flat, and look at that!
With a pretty lining inside.
Totally profesh.
(And check out how that existing stitch looks around the edge):
Now, do the same thing with the other pocket, then sew the pockets to the front of your shorts, finish them off, and you're done!
Sweet piping shorts!
Perfect way to start out the weekend.

Next time we'll tackle Back Pockets.  Who knew you'd be such a wiz at shorts?
Keep sharing your stuff in the Flickr Group!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

The happy angry update

Well, summer has been chugging along, filled with pools, splash pads, day trips, long trips, a mom and dad trip (sans kids!), and tons of time to play.  

And since most of you could relate to my meltdown last month, I thought I should give you an update....we had a success!
And we went a little Bird crazy.

We took your advice and bought Sculpey Clay and finally, finally built a proper Luke.  We (I mean, Casey.  I was still burnt out), threw Luke in the oven and he came out perfect and Angry Bird-ly.
And with the rest of the original modeling clay, Lucy and Owen spent days molding tons of characters.  Lucy made another Leia (above. I love it), Owen made Mace Windu, the original Luke (before he was a Jedi---big difference), K-3PO (a white droid similar to C3PO---we're getting into real nerd territory here), and on the far right a sculpture of Lucy. 
Clay has become the sophisticated Playdough.
And everybody's happy.

Owen was invited to a friend's birthday party last week so I got my Angry Bird on as well.
The theme of the party was Star Wars Angry Birds....and it was for a girl!
Love that combo.
So I made a Basic Pocket Tote to hold library books, toys, whatever a 5 year old needs:
I printed and ironed Leia to the pocket using THIS, which I read about on Cirque du bebe and Caila Made.  It's basically really high quality iron-on paper.  It doesn't replace Freezer Paper stenciling for me but has some really cool advantages.  And the jury's still out on it; I'm still experimenting.  So I'll post more details/ideas down the road. 
Just when my kids were getting tired of clay, THESE cool blocks showed up in the mail from the ladies at Caravan Shoppe
They're so fun.  They're called Olliblock Mix Mates with tons of character combos.  The kids had fun mixing them around, making the blocks talk to each other, and then they got really excited when they fox and baby frog!  "Mom, just take out the middle block and you can make baby ones!"
Clevah, clevah.
I've you've never been to Carvan Shoppe it's really cool.  They sell tons of downloadable art and other creative items. I met the shoppe creators at Alt last year and they're really fun down-to-earth moms trying to spread their love of art with all of us.    
And right now they're trying to get their Mix Mate Olliblocks into larger-scale production so they can sell them as finished blocks (rather than download) and reach a wider audience.  They've got a Kickstarter campaign going for the next 8 days....and they're already 80% funded!  They're so close!
Check out the campaign HERE.  And check out the video too, it's pretty fun.  
And...if you're on instagram, you should check them out @almaloveland, @fifthandhazel, and @mikeloveland cause they're always sharing really cool illustrator patterns under the hashtag #365patterns.  Here's one of my favorites by Alma, which she turned into a card! Real women wearing swimsuits....
And that's a random wrapup.
If today's kid-mom life goes as planned I'll have another Shorts post for you tomorrow.
Have a great day!