Recent (and a few not-as-recent) makes

I have some recently sewn things to share with you! I have quite the queue of sewing projects all the time. Some are for my local classes and many are things my family asks me to make for them (costume time is coming!!!), but I always try to fit selfish sewing projects in between the selfless ones. 

First up, a month or so ago, I made a lightweight cardigan out of a pretty rayon jersey. I do like this pattern and may use it again, but it doesn't beat out my favorite, which I'll get to later. I like the peplum on the back and it's nice to have several cardigans like this on hand as Summer turns to Fall (my first Fall in three years! So excited!!)

McCall's 6996

McCall's 6996

Next up, I made a dress recently from a 90's pattern I bought at a thrift store. The pattern cover was not cute. But it had a great detail in the back and I knew if I used a flowy fabric and made the skirt less full, it could be great.  Here's the pattern:

Sim6392a.jpg

And here's my dress: 

Vintage Simplicity 6392

Vintage Simplicity 6392

I didn't get a good photo of the back, sorry. But it's pretty, I love the cut out! And I didn't make the skirt quite as full as the pattern, I just cut the width of my rayon, placing the stripes vertically, then pleated it to fit the bodice. I also elasticized the waistline seam allowance. Someday in the future, I may shorten it, but for now, it's super comfy and I like it. 

Next, none of these pieces are things I've made super recently, but they tend to get a lot of rotation in my wardrobe and I've never shared any of them here, so I think it's time! 

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The cardigan is one of two Blackwood Cardigans I've made so far and I LOVE them. I have plans for a green one in a rib knit from Girl Charlee. I only buy Indy patterns if I feel like I'll get several makes out of them and this is definitely a favorite! 

The skirt is the Chi-Town skirt, another Indy pattern I've managed to get quite a bit of use out of! I think the denim is part of it's success, though, I happened to pick it up at my Hawaii Fabricmart and it's a good one. Wish I could get more! 

The tank was self-drafted from a ready-to-wear tank that shrunk to oblivion (eye roll). I like the print for Fall! 

As a side note, let's talk about shoes for a minute. I have a bit of scoliosis and discovered after buying my first pair of Chacos a couple years ago (I have some like these and some like these) that shoes make a HUGE difference in how my back and hips feel. I need firm soles, with good arch support. Chacos are my favorite and I plan to order a pair of Chaco boots pretty soon, since I have moved to a state where sandals are seasonal, haha. But I've been checking Savers for nice shoes that can get me into Fall. Good shoes are expensive and if you aren't sure they're going to work for your issues, it's hard to spend that kind of money to just try them out, ya know? Anyway, I found the Sperry Topsiders (similar pair here) in the photo above at my local Savers thrift store and they are GREAT! They were in super good condition, they're real leather, which means my feet neither sweat nor get cold in them and they have the proper arch support. 

If you are super picky about shoes or have back/foot issues, can you recommend some more brands I can try? I haven't needed winter shoes in three years, so help me find some stylish ones! 

 

*This post contains affiliate links, which means that while I'm not paid to recommend products to you, I am earn a small percentage for referring you to items I love when you purchase through these links, which helps keep this operation going.

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Two Ways to Finish Seams

While most of my sewing stuff is still in boxes while we wait for the remodel to be done, I did manage to make a dress yesterday and it felt soooooo good to sew something! It's like therapy, for real. 

McCall's 2632

McCall's 2632

I used a very simple shift dress pattern that I knew the fit was perfect on (I had made a muslin of it in the past), McCall's 2632. It's out of print now, but here it is on Amazon. Here's the dress unbelted, but I like it a little better with a simple belt, as shown in the other photos. 

Unfortunately, I could not get my serger working! I'm hoping I just made a threading mistake and it didn't get banged up in the move, but I didn't want to spend too much time on it so I finished my inside seams the old-fashioned way. I thought I'd share with you how to do the same! 

If you are making clothing for yourself, or your kiddos, or your dolls and you don't want the seams to get tattered in the wash, here are two ways to finish them so they'll always look nice. 

First, a French Seam. Here's how to do it! 

1. Place your fabrics WRONG sides together and sew in a 1/4" seam. Trim this down to 1/8".

2. Press the tiny seam to one side. This will help you get a crisp edge when you then fold the piece RIGHT sides together, encasing the first raw edge inside. Sew in a 3/8" seam. 

Your seam will then look nice and pretty, with the raw edges tucked away, never to be seen again. This is how I finished my center back seam. 

French Seam

French Seam

For my side seams, I needed them to be pressed open because of the way the sleeves needed to be hemmed. So I simply sewed my 5/8" seam, then turned the raw edge of each seam allowance under and sewed a tiny hem. So it looks like this: 

Seam finishing

Seam finishing

You can see I didn't sew them down to the main fabric, I kept that out of the way as I turned the tiny hems under. A good press and it looks so neat on the inside! 

I had enough of this fabric to cut out a simple top too, so I'll be working on that next. And hopefully I'll get my serger working, but there's something satisfying about finishing the insides this way too! 

I know I'll get a lot of wear out of this dress. Today I found a belt of Natalie's lying around and put it on with it. 

Gracie wanted to be in all the photos, she's a camera hog. 

Cheers and Happy Sewing! 

How to sew finished seams, two ways, without a serger

How to sew finished seams, two ways, without a serger

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Sock Monkey Tutorial!

I feel like I haven't checked in here in a little while, but things are really ramping up for us as our move approaches. We are an Army family, in case you didn't know that, and we are moving from Hawaii to Utah. Our movers come in 34 days, eek! We have about six weeks left on this beautiful island, but we know that Utah has just as much beauty and adventure.

So, we're currently attempting to buy a house from about 3,000 miles away. If you have bought a house site unseen, please share your positive experiences in the comments. If you have negative experiences, though, I'd probably rather not hear those, hahahaha!

I held my last sewing classes here last week and that was a sad bit of closure for me. I've loved teaching sewing here so much and will miss my students a ton. I'm so happy to have passed the sewing bug on to so many kids, though, and I can't wait to meet the students I'll have in Utah. Oh, our house, God willing, will have space for a sewing studio so that I no longer have to set up sewing camp in our dining room and pretty much take over the house every time. I can't wait for that! I hope to set up a great space to film videos for the YouTube channel too!

So, on to the new video! Oh my goodness, this might be my favorite video so far because these are so darn cute and cuddly. Target has so many adorable socks in the kids aisle (anyone find the Cat & Jack line just the best thing ever??) I think we will make lots of these for gifts in the future. We've already had requests.

Enjoy the tutorial! Pretty please, if you make one, show me! Tag me on Instagram @nikkischreiner or email me pics or something! I love to see. 

After making that video, we went to Target that very day to buy socks for more monkeys. Kelby's turned out super cute! 

We're still working on Natalie's, but it's going to be equally adorable. 

Layla named hers Stitches and she's been pretty much a permanent fixture in her hands since we made her :) 

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Beginner/Kid Friendly Sewing Tutorial: Name Banner Bunting

This month in my local kids sewing classes, our theme is sewing for your room and Tuesday's project was these fun triangle name banners! The kids had fun with these and my favorite part is seeing what fabrics they each choose and how they got creative with their words, using nicknames, meaningful words, adding hearts before and after their names, etc... 

There are plenty of tutorials out there for these, but I wanted mine to  have finished edges and be lined so it would be look nicer and last longer. And of course I wanted to make a tutorial simple enough for beginner parents and kids to follow so my sewing students can make more at home!

What You'll Need:

A triangle template: I cut mine from a file folder and it measures 9.5" across the top and 10" down the center. You can make it any size as long as it fits the letter stencils you have. 

Letter stencils. Mine are from my old scrapbooking stash. You can get them in scrapbook sections in craft stores OR you can print out your own font to cut out and trace. This could be a really fun way to go! 

Fabrics: With my size triangle, we could cut four flags out of one fat quarter. So I'd say for an eight letter word, you need at least a half yard total of fabric. But, it's super fun to do each letter different too, so you can use scraps you have on hand. We backed our flags with solid colors, but you could use anything and you could even make your banner reversible! Just make sure you use fabrics that you can't see through. 

Double Fold bias tape. This comes in little packages by the zippers and rick-rack, but you can also make your own, there are several tutorials out there for that. 

Fusible Web: This comes either on a bolt, in a roll or in sheets. Steam A' Seam is a brand name for the kind you'll find in sheets, but any kind will work. 

Let's Get Started! 

Cut out your flags, as many as you have letters and cut out your backing flags too. Then sew each one together, right sides together (pretty side to pretty side!), leaving the tops open. Snip the bottom tip straight across, close to your stitching. This helps you get a nice point when you turn it right side out. 

Turn each flag right side out, use a chopstick to gently poke the corner out and press them nice and flat. 

Before we put the binding on, you'll want to trim off all these little dog ears:

Time to add your bias tape! Open up your bias tape and fit the first flag inside it's fold, starting about an inch from the end. (You can turn the end under, or not. I didn't have the kids do it this way and since bias tape doesn't ravel, it will be fine. Put it under your machine and use a zig zag stitch to sew down the length of it, adding flags as you go. I don't usually pin them, I just open it up and wedge them in as I go, but you can pin if you want! 

The sewing part is done! Time to add the letters. Whether you're using stencils like mine or printed letters, you want to trace each letter backwards onto one side of your fusible web. Don't cut them out! You can cut loosely around each letter, or if you traced them close enough together for it not to be wasteful, you can just iron the whole piece onto your fabric. Following the manufacturer's instructions if you need to, remove the paper backing (the side you didn't trace on) and iron your letters onto the wrong side of your letter fabric.

Now you can cut your letters out. Once you've cut them out, remove the paper backing and place each letter where you want them on each flag and press them on one at a time. Make sure you spell it right! haha. 

That's it! You're done! You can easily hang these up with thumb tacks. Natalie is so proud of hers! 

And so are my sewing students! They did such a good job, they should be proud. 

The kids thought of all kinds of banners they can make! Natalie suggested a football one to hang during Bronco games (Broncos season is coming!!!!!!) A few girls talked about making them for gifts. I've made these for baby shower decorations/presents. Seasonal banners would be fun too! 

A banner I made when I threw my friend a baby shower several years ago. She hung it in the baby's nursery! 

A banner I made when I threw my friend a baby shower several years ago. She hung it in the baby's nursery! 

And my favorite banner of all, the birthday banner I made when all my kids were tiny that I still hang up for every single birthday, even my own :) I can see many memories in all the fabrics I made it out of! 

Look at tiny Natalie there in the front and tiny Layla and Kelby too! Eeeeeeeek!!! 

Look at tiny Natalie there in the front and tiny Layla and Kelby too! Eeeeeeeek!!! 

Cheers and happy sewing! If you make any banners using this tutorial, I'd love to see! :)

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Weekend Sewing: Kwik Sew 4169

Even though I spent all week teaching kiddos to sew, somehow I still wanted to sew for fun on my "off time" (ha, off time, as if). My wardrobe is pretty pared down these days. I really only keep things I truly love and wear. Plus, style is pretty casual where I live. I noticed when getting ready for church last week that a few new dresses were needed, but I want dresses that are casual enough to work for the everyday.

Kwik Sew 4169 paired with a perfect-weight knit I got from Fabric.com recently resulted in my perfect dress! I love it! 

Kwik Sew 4169

Kwik Sew 4169

When you sew for yourself, you can learn to fix all the little fitting quirks that irritate you about ready to wear. For example, I make a swayback adjustment on everything, a short waist adjustment on many things and often take front armhole darts too. I do these simple things so often that they don't even take me any extra time! I think this is one of the best fitting things I've ever made and it's so comfortable! 

Kwik Sew 4169

Kwik Sew 4169

Kwik Sew 4169

Kwik Sew 4169

Thanks to my 9 year old for taking my photos for me, she did a good job. 

I also worked on a chambray sleeveless button down shirt this week! I just need to buy buttons for it. It turned out great and I think it will be super versatile! 

But for now, we're on to the next sewing camp!! Can't wait!

Cheers and Happy Sewing! 

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