Tuesday, February 28, 2012

DIY Tier Dress with Instructions

I made this tier dress using a vintage McCalls tank top pattern. I did make some adaptations the tank's top and obviously turned it into a dress.
In order to use the tank top pattern for a dress, I cut the dress 1 inch wider than the tank top called for by placing the pattern 1/2 inch away from the center fold of the fabric. As I cut the fabric, I increased the length of top by about 5 inches, using the same hip slope of the tank pattern.

Cutting the bottom edge of the upper portion of my dress was done using the tank top pattern specification. I simply moved the pattern down, realigned it 1/2 inch from the center fold, and cut the bottom using the arc provided by the pattern. I repeated this same method for the back of the dress.

I sewed the top portion of the dress before attempting to cut the bottom tiers. Once the upper dress was sewn, I measured the width of the bottom edge. I cut my bottom tiers 13 inches wider than the dress width. If I had to do this again, I would cut the tiers about 18 to 20 inches wider than the width of the dress.

For the tiers, I approached each tier differently. The bottom tier was cut at 6 x 40 inches and the top (outer) tier was cut at 3 x 40 inches. Both tiers were cut in two pieces and sewn together at the sides. From this point, I approached each tier differently.
The bottom tier was gathered about 3/4 of an inch from the upper edge of the fabric before attaching it to the top of the dress using the overlock machine. After attaching the bottom tier, I removed the thread used to do the gathering. Finally, I gave the bottom tier a traditional 1/2 inch hem.

The outer tier was given a rolled hem on top and bottom, using my overlock machine. The top edge was given an extreme lettuce edge effect and the bottom hem, a mild lettuce edge effect. Once my top tier was hemmed, I used a single need straight stitch, on stitch width setting 5, to gather the top edge of the outer tier (approximately 3/4 of an inch from the tip of top hem). After gathering the top edge of the top tier, I pinned the gathered top to the seam where the bottom tier was attached to the top of the dress. I used the gathering thread as my guide for pinning and sewing the outer tier to seam joining the bottom tier and upper dress.
I used a cover stitch machine to attach the outer tier to the dress. Once I completed the outer tier, I removed the gathering thread.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

My First Tank Top

I got some fabric from Girl Charlee today. It took about 20 minutes for me to start making a pattern and whipping up a tank top from this lovely print fabric.

This is the first attempt I've made at a tank top. I adapted a vintage pattern from McCalls by: adding length, dropping the neckline by about a 1/2 inch, and adding elastic to achieve a more taut and gathered neckline.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

DIY Baby: Baby Food Recipes

Sweet Potato and Mushroom Puree

1 Medium Sweet Potato
1/5 cups sliced mushrooms

Peel and dice medium size sweet potato. Cover the sweet potato in water and bring to a boil. Reduce to simmer about 10 to 15 minutes until tender. As soon as the sweet potato is tender, add the 1 and a 1/2 cups mushrooms and simmer for five more minutes. Drain well.

Put the vegies in a bullet blender, food processor or other food mill with formula or baby milk and puree until you reach desired consistency. Makes about 17 tablespoons.


Turnip and Carrot Puree

1 small turnip
1 small carrot

Peel and dice one small turnip and one small carrot. Place in saucepan, cover with water, and bring water to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for about 10 to 15 minutes or until tender. Drain when the vegies reach desired consistency. Place vegies in food processor, bullet blender or food mill with baby milk or formula combined and puree to desired consistency.

Friday, February 10, 2012

DIY Baby: Baby Food Starter Recipes

Mashed Potato with Carrots

peel and dice one medium potato and one medium carrot

Cover with water, bring to a boil and simmer for ten to fifteen minutes, until cooked and tender. Puree in a blender with some of the water from the boil until reaching the desired consistency. You can use formula for extra liquid if desired.


Root Vegetable Puree 

1 medium size sweet potato
1 small carrot 
1 small turnip 

Peel and cut all vegies. Cover with water and bring to a boil. After reaching boil, simmer for 10 to 15 minutes or until cooked. Retain some of the water from the simmer and use to puree these vegies together. You can also use formula or baby milk to puree with in order to add more liquid. 

Thursday, February 9, 2012

DIY Baby: Baby Food Recipes 1 Stocks

When I had my son in 1990, the thought of making my own baby food never occurred to me. When I had my daughter in 2008, my mother-in-law gave me a book about how to make your own baby food. I used that book and ended up making all my own baby food.

There are nutritional facts that anyone entering the world of baby food needs to learn. This blog is not a nutritional text book so if you use these recipes, do so with the nutritional information that you can get from any public library.

So, to make your own baby food, you need to start with three broth options.

1. Vegie Stock/ Broth
2. Beef Stock/ Broth
3. Chicken Stock/ Broth

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1. Vegie Broth:
Makes about 5.5 cups

1 large onion, sliced 
2 carrots, sliced 
1 leek, sliced 
3 celery stocks, chopped 
1 small turnip, diced
1 small parsnip, diced
1 bouquet garni 

Add 2 quarts cold water and stir. Bring to boil and simmer for about an hour and a half. Skim off any scum that rises to the surface during simmer. 

You can add other vegies as well. This is the recipe I used. 

Strain the stock through a strainer and freeze the stock in cubes or small portions for mixing with puree vegies and baby food recipes. 


2. Beef Broth 
Makes close to  cups 

1 lb shin of beef on the bone 
1 lb beef or veal bones 
1 onion 
1 carrot 
1 turnip
2 celery stalks 
1 leak, cleaned 
1 bouquet garni

Put the meat and the bones in a pan and brown, in the oven, at 425 degrees fora bout 30 minutes. Transfer to large saucepan with 2 quarts water. 

Peel and slice the onion and the carrot; peel and dice the turnip; chop the celery and leek. Add to the saucepan with the bouquet garni. Stir to mix. 

Bring to a boil. Then, partially cover and simmer for about 2 hours. Skimming off any scum or fat that comes to the surface during boil. 

Strain the stock through a strainer and freeze in cubes or small portions, as you will use this with the baby food recipes. 


3. Chicken Broth 
Makes about 2 and a 1/2 cups 

1 meaty chicken carcass 
6 shallots or 1 onion
1 carrot
2 celery stalks
1 bay leaf

Break or chop the chicken carcass into pieces and place in a large pan with 7 cups cold water. 

Peel and slice the shallots (onion), carrot and chop celery. Add everything and bay leaf to saucepan, stir and bring to a boil. After boiling, partially cover and simmer for about 2 hours. Skim off any scum that rises to the surface during boil. 

When complete, strain your chicken broth and freeze into cubes or small portions, as this gets used in the different baby food recipes I will add during the month of February. 

DIY Baby: Goats Milk Infant Formula Recipe

I wanted to share the recipe I used for infant formula. This recipe was given to me by a grandmother at the local health food store. She said her daughter's and grad-daughter's used the recipe without problems. I also used this recipe for my daughter.

1 cup goats milk
1 cup fortified organic rice milk
1 tablespoon protein powder
1 teaspoon baby vitamins
1/2 teaspoon flaxseed oil

I am not a physician and cannot take responsibility for the recipe. I am sharing what I used. Check this recipe with others available before making any decisions about infant formula.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Sewing Stretch

Making leotards is a staple sewing activity for me. My Leotots ETSY shop was created for loetards. I started sewing simple sleeveless tank leotards out of necessity because sleeveless garments are easy when learning how to sew on a stretch fabric.

Sewing stretch fabric is an art in itself. A dance emerges in the sewing process that begins with placing the fabric on the overlock, continues through guiding the fabric through the knives and doesn't end until the finished edges are bound with the encased elastic. At every point, the seamstress has to anticipate the give, pull and tug of the machine and the fabric. Both machine and fabric move and react independently while sewing.

I discovered jersey leotards one day while I had a partially sewn tank leotard sitting next to a pattern of a jersey sweatshirt dress pattern. I walked into the sewing room, glanced over at what was sitting on the machine cover and bipity boppety boo...I thought "why don't I put the neck line on that dress into that leotard." So, I took my leotard pattern and laid it over the jersey dress pattern and made my own jersey leotard. This combination of styles is what gave my leotard sleeves.
For two years, I stayed with the jersey sleeve style. One reason I stayed on jersey leotards was to avoid any new experience. Sewing stretch is hard enough. I wanted to master the straight stitch and test the stress points on this style leotard.

Next, I wanted to develop some jersey styles in my shop. I quickly got fast at producing the jersey leo and started adding different combinations of fabrics, trimming the edges of my garments, and finally varying the sleeve styles I offered. I developed a nice varied catalog of leotards.

Finally, what I ended up with was a gymnastics leotard shop that wasn't touching on the feminine beauty I find in dance classes. While it is easy to do what I know best, it isn't that much fun staying in the same place with something I do as often as making a leotard.
This year, I am moving myself into the typical round sleeve. The round sleeve is not taking me any more time than the jersey sleeve. The product is that I'm getting a more dance style leotard added to my repertoire and developing a more well rounded catalog of leotards in my etsy shop.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

In this post, I want to show a shape view of this dress and a close up to make the decorative stitching and anime characters visible.

I love the Japanese culture and the children's anime that can communicate such simple yet powerful emotions. I want my girl to have beautiful clothes that tell a story and are not over feminine. Rather, I want empowering images. I think I brought these sentiments together in this dress.

I mixed cute mod kid fashion and art. Japanese anime characters are people of the rising sun in this artistic dress. Paired with the red, black and white brush stroke fabric, this garment tells a beautiful story with the anime characters. This dress is accented with decorative stitching that laces the entire edge of the turquoise Obi (sash), neckline, sleeves and bottom of the dress. Making this piece extra special, I coordinated the style of the brush strokes in the red fabric with the detailed decorative stitching embroidered into the Obi and the rest of the garment's edging..