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‘Sewing’ Category

  1. 1700’s Style Dress – Formal or Costume

    July 10, 2013 by mom

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     This is a gown that I have made twice. The first was a formal. I made it out of Poly-Satin and another light-weight wedding fabric. The second was a costume made out of a Water Back Poly-Satin and Drapery fabric.

    What I love about this dress is that it fits more than one size because you tighten the lacing on the sides to make it fit. It does have a zipper in the back to make it easy to get in and out of.


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    The pattern is an older pattern (Simplicity 8623). It has a 1999 date on the envelope. I did what the pattern said to do for the most part . . .  okay, I use the instructions as suggestions more than instructions.


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    I had to lengthen the dress  3 1/2 inches. Because the bottom of the skirt was straight I was able to use a wide ruler to lengthen it, so it went quickly.



    I was taught to save fabric whenever possible. When the skirt part of the dress was narrower than the fabric I folded down the fabric to make it the width that I needed, and measured from the fold to the shorter salvage across the fabric making sure it was the same distance.



    The front of the gown was too low cut for me so I raised it for both the fabric and interfacing lining pattern. The pattern calls for a short interfacing and lining. I didn’t like it because the bodice fabric I used was light weight and you could tell there was a  shorter fabric behind it.  So I made the fabric, interfacing and lining out of the “Bodice Front” pattern and sewed it together to make it one piece of fabric. It made for a smoother front of the dress I thought.


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    This is the ribbon and lace that I used. I bought it at Hobby Lobby at half price. The ribbon and lace on a spool seam go on sale once a moth.



    The flounce part (the hanging part) of the sleeve I cut the fabric and made an interfacing with the same fabric as the skirt and front part of the dress. I didn’t make an interfacing with the formal dress because the fabric was a lot the same on both sides. The drapery fabric back was not as pleasing to look at. Hanging the way the sleeve does I thought it would look a lot nicer with the Water Back Satin to look at.



    I sewed the lace to the front side of the flounce part of the sleeve. I kept it pinned down so it wouldn’t pop up or move when I sewed the lining to it. I just sewed around the curved part of the sleeve.



    I then flipped it around with the right sides of the fabric on the outside and the lace sticking out. I top stitched as close to the edger as possible around the whole flounce part of the sleeve to make it one piece of fabric. I did pin it all in place before I sewed it.


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    I put seam binding around the neck part of the costume dress, mainly because I felt it would be a bit too scratchy and uncomfortable without it. I sewed it down on both sides of the seam binding to hold it in place. (The picture shows with and without the seam binding.)



    I made sure the seam of the skirt was going upward all around the skirt and on the sleeve where the flounce is attached. I then top-stitched. It really helps to keep the things in place.



    I also did a top stitch on the side over skirts. I think it helps make the lace lay flat and the top skirt as well.

    I don’t think I did anything else different from what the pattern suggests. These are things that I did to make the 1700’s style dress look the best I could make it. And it has worked well as either a formal dress to wear to the prom or as an elegant costume to wear to the party. I hope these ideas help you with projects you are doing or want to do. They might not be the best way to do it, but they work for me and I hope they work for you too.



  2. Ghostbuster Costume For Kids

    March 21, 2013 by mom



    Last Halloween, two of my grandsons wanted to be Ghostbusters. They are child size 3 and 4, give or take. I used McCall’s costumes M6417, kids pattern size 3 to 8.

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    Cheap   Cheap Pattern

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    Because all the sizes are in the pattern, I trace the pattern in the sizes that I need. When I am tracing the pattern piece, I write all the info that is on the original pattern piece. I also write the size that the pattern piece is. website loading test It makes it so much easier to cut out the fabric when you don’t have to fold the original pattern piece to the size you need.

    I use a tracing paper that we bought online at It comes on a roll: 12″, 18″ or 24″ by 20 yard roll, or 12″, 18″, 24″ or 36″ by 50 yard roll. I use the 36″ X 50 yard roll because I use all sizes of patterns and you can get more on a section of the tracing paper.



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    My grandsons have short arms and legs, so when I laid out the pattern on the fabric, I folded up the pattern piece in the place that said to shorten or lengthen. I wrote on the pattern piece of the pants where the size 3 length would be and folded up the pattern to cut the fabric at the size 3 length.



    The fabric I used was a heavier cotton muslin that did need to be pre-washed to get the sizing out and let it do its shrinking. I used the heavier muslin because I knew it would be cold when they went Trick-or-treating. I also wanted the fabric to last longer than a day or two.



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    I do not have a Serger that works so I sewed the seam twice and then did a zig-zag stitch on the outside of the seam. I knew being a costume it would be played with often. So I believe in sewing things that will last.



    I do not like rough edges, so the casing you have to make at the waist for the elastic on the sides and back I folded over once at the outer part of the seam and then sewed it down. I made sure the seam was folded toward the top direction of the outfit.




    I then used my handy dandy sewing ruler and measured one inch by folding it up to the top of the outfit to make the casing. (I love the metal rulers with a metal seam gauge. They are hard to find because they make it with a plastic seam gauge now.)



    I sewed it in place following where I sewed before when I was getting rid of the rough edge.



    The pattern calls for a zipper up the front. Because it is a costume to wear over other clothing I decided to use 2 Velcro strips (or if you want to call it Hook and Loop. I prefer Velcro.)  Lining them up to each other can be a bit tricky. Decide where you want the Velcro to be, then pin in place. Sew the bottom side down on both then the top side down. I sewed inside the seam so it wouldn’t show.


    Name Tag


    The name tag is a 1-inch wide grosgrain ribbon folded under on both sides. My daughter wrote the name on the ribbon, then I folded the ends in and sewed it on.


    We used the Ballpoint Embroidery Paint by Aunt Martha’s. We bought it at Hobby Lobby using their 40% off coupon that they have every week lately. I love Hobby Lobby– they have so many different sewing and craft supplies.


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    My daughter-in-law bought the Ghostbuster badge online and had it shipped to me. I sewed it on using black thread. I stayed on the outside black part of the patch. I do not trust iron on to stay on so I always sew on patches using the same color thread as whatever the border color is.

    Measurements for Sewing

    I did use the measuring guide of the boys’ measurements to get the arms and legs the right length, the inseam measurement for the leg and the length of the arm (shoulder to wrist) to get the sleeve right, and also around the wrist of the sleeve for the elastic.


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    The outfit did go together quite nicely. I was so glad that the boys loved the outfit and that it fit them fine. All I can say is, don’t let an outfit scare you. It goes together one piece at a time. So take your time and enjoy the ride.

  3. How to Take Sewing Measurements

    February 26, 2013 by mom


    (A downloadable .pdf version of the above document is available at the end of the post.)

    When I am planing on making clothing for someone, I find it very helpful to have a sheet of paper where I am able to put the person’s name, the date, and their measurements. When taking a measurement, you measure around the largest part of the area you are measuring. This is what I have put together for myself to use:

    The name and date are very important, especially for babies and children. They are forever changing! For the date I put the month and year.

    I’ve just started to do the height. It gives you an overall look at the size of the person. I would do height mainly for children.

    I measure the head by going around the forehead to the largest part of the back of the head. Head is good for hats and headbands and anything else you can think of.

    I go around the largest part of the neck for jewelry as well as clothes that go close around the neck. If they have a large Adam’s apple, make sure you go around that part of the neck.

    Bust is going around the largest part of the chest.

    Waist is going around the middle of the body where the belly button is.

    Below Waist purchase shallaki ayurveda is about 2 inches below the waist or where ever the person likes to wear their pants or skirts. I do below waist also because most children and adults prefer wearing things below their waist. A lot of patterns are made that way too.

    Hips are going around the largest part of the person’s bottom.

    I go around the large part of the leg to make sure the pants or shorts will fit around the leg right.

    Shoulder to shoulder is measured from shoulder bone to shoulder bone or shoulder seam line to shoulder seam line from the person’s back. Needed when making a top or dress.

    Girth Purchase … I think that is what it is called. You take the measuring tape starting at the top of one shoulder in the front where the seam line would be. You go under the crotch, and over to the other shoulder in the back where the seam line would be. This is for one-piece swim suits or anything like that. You may need a 120 inch measuring tape.

    I do both the waist and below waist measurements here as well. I feel it is more accurate. It gives me more to go off of when I am making an outfit. To Floor is going flat on the floor. To Capri is below the knee somewhere around the lower part of the calf muscle or where ever the person likes the Capri  length to be. To Knee is going right above the round part of the knee. You may need the person to bend their knee a bit to find the spot, then have them straighten the leg for you to measure.  

    Clothing size is the size clothing they would buy in the store. I know children’s tops are sometimes a different size than their pants so both are nice to have. It’s helpful when I am deciding what size to make the outfit. I do not always use the same sizes for patterns that the clothing sizes would suggest.

    Shoe size is the size shoe that they buy.  Length of foot I do separately because most people’s feet are different sizes. These measurements are good when you make slippers or if a costume calls for a foot cover, etc.

    Inseams are important when making pants. Put that with the waist to floor and you will get the length right for the pants.

    Floor, Capri & Knee are the same spots you did when you measured from the waist.

    Neck to waist and below waist are good for tops and one-piece outfits. You measure from the top bone of the spine to where you are measuring to. Make sure the person is standing as straight as possible.

    Neck to floor is good for long dresses and one-piece outfits.

    I go around the large part of the arm to make sure the sleeve fits around the arm. This is also helpful when I am putting elastic in a short sleeve.

    Around Wrist is where the hand and arm meet or where the person likes wearing things on the wrist. I like making jewelry so the wrist measurement is good to have. It also helps when I put elastic in a long sleeve outfit.

    Short measure from the top of shoulder bone and or where the seam line is to where you want the short sleeve to end.

    Elbow measure from the top shoulder bone to the elbow when it is bent.

    3/4 Order measure from the top shoulder down the bent arm to the middle of elbow and wrist.

    Long measure from the top shoulder down the bent arm to the wrist where hand and arm meet.

    I  do the different lengths so I can make a sleeve any length that is wanted.

    I tried to cover all the different needs for making clothes or accessories for someone. I know I have used the different measurements at one time or another. I feel it is better to have the measurement and not use it than not have it and need it. Because the people I sew for are not close by, I get all the info I can when I can. 🙂

    Pills I hope this is helpful to people. I know it is a big help for me. I have a sheet for every one of my children, and if they are married, their spouse and their children as well. I put the sheets in a manila folder with the parents’ name on the tag part. I have kept all the older sheets so I can compare the old with the new measurements. It does help if a number was written down wrong or helps to see how much they have grown.

    Enjoy sewing. I’m learning to enjoy it.

    Don’t forget to download the .pdf version of the measurement sheet for your own use!

  4. Altering Bridesmaid dress

    September 29, 2012 by mom

    A friend asked bupropion xl cost walmart Buy Buy Cheap me to alter a bridesmaid dress that was purchased a size too small. She put on the dress for me and there were about six inches of fabric needed for the dress to fit, and there wasn’t enough time to lose that much weight. I was stumped. Where could I get the fabric that would match to make the dress fit? There was a lining to the dress but it was a shade off in color. I couldn’t shorten the dress. All the bridesmaid dresses looked the same so I couldn’t take fabric from the pleats in the front of the dress or the hem.

    Then the bridesmaid showed me there were pockets on either side of the dress that were lined with the same fabric. It hit me. That was the answer I needed. The POCKETS! Such relief came over me. I was so afraid I wouldn’t be able to alter the dress to fit her. Now there was a way to do it.

    The bridesmaid and friends went out for pizza (and brought some back to share) while I took out the pockets. I wanted to make sure that there was enough fabric in the pockets to make it work.

    I took out the whole pocket and left it the shape it was with the seam in it and everything. A pocket is kind of shaped like a lopsided tear drop. Narrow at the top and oval at the bottom where you put your hand. It is straight on the side that you sew onto the dress or pants.

    I took out the zipper that was in the back of the dress and inserted the pocket with the fabric side out. The narrow side was on top and I left the seam allowance to fold under when finished. I sewed the pocket to the back of the dress by hand because I didn’t want the stitches to be seen. I left enough fabric on top to fold under.

    The zipper was sewn in by my daughter. I finished sewing the lining of the pocket in place. It fit the bridesmaid great. I really do love pockets; you can use them for so many things.


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  5. Stuffed Toys: Plane, Ship, Truck

    April 1, 2012 by mom

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    I made these toys for my grandkids from Simplicity Pattern #2279. I made a few changes. It called for wheels on the truck on one side, but I put wheels on both sides. I also made the ship two-sided.

    I traced each of the pattern pieces on tracing paper before cutting them out of the fabric. I cut extra of each piece because I was making more than one of each of the toys. (I was making a set for each of my kids that have children, as well as a few extra.) I feel if I am going to all the trouble of making them, what’s a few more?

    The fabric I used for the tires of the truck and the top of the ship and plane was tie fabric I was given. Some of the fabric I used was from squares/swatches of upholstery fabric. My goal was to give each toy different textures & colors. Some of the fabric I used for the windows, wheels, etc. frayed so I trimmed it as close as I could then I used Order Cheap fray check on it. You have to let the fray check dry before sewing on it. It stopped the fraying. It did leave the edges a bit darker on the tie fabric when it dried but that was fine because I was going to sew over it.

    I used Wonder Under to applique the windows, wheels, and the  plane and ship tops. It works great but I do not trust it to last forever so I did a close zig-zag stitch around each of the windows, wheels, etc. I also feel that the black border helps the windows and everything stand out better.

    After everything was topped stitched, I sewed the two halves together on the wrong side, leaving a 3-inch hole to turn it right side out. I put the hole of the truck on the top of the long bed. For the ship, the hole was on the side, and for the plane, the hole on the back short wing.  I made sure that I trimmed the corners on the inside before turning it.


    I stuffed it with batting till it was a bit stiff. I know with time sometimes batting flattens. I hand sewed the hole together. It looked better that way. My grandkids seemed to like the toys and so have the kids that visit at my house. I was amazed how well it went together. I loved how the fabrics that I had laying around worked so great together. It is amazing what you can make with things you have around your home.

  6. 3 Musketeers Costumes

    October 27, 2010 by mom

    This month I made 3 Musketeer Costumes in three sizes (two blue, one pink) for my grandkids. Thank heaven McCall’s came out with a Musketeer costume for child and adult. M5214


    M5214 Completed

    Before we start sewing in this house we trace the patterns onto tracing Tissue paper which we have gotten on line. It is see through paper which is used for sketching and tracing. We get it in 50 yards X 36 inches. That way we can trace many things at one time. (Patterns for clothing come in many sizes on one pattern piece.) This way we can use the pattern over and over again. The paper is thick enough that we can use a fine tip permanent pen which doesn’t bleed. Which is wonderful. The last place we got it from was Blick Art Materials The paper is Number 106 and is called Purchase White paper for sketching & tracing. It is a bit thinner than the last kind we used but it works fine.

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    I love Wonder-Under. You can find Wonder-Under at many fabric stores, or buy it in bulk online.  It is a double sided fusible web that has paper on one side that you can draw your design on, and  fusible webbing on the other side. After you iron it on the fabric with a dry iron, you can cut out the design. Then you take the paper off it and iron it to what you want the fabric design to go on. It makes appliqué very simple.

    The design called for a Cross which I turned into a plus sign by shorting the long side. I used carbon paper (which is as old as me or older. I got from my mom and saved it.) to transfer the design to the wonder under. It worked great. I got some nice small scissors (on sale of course) which cut out the design well. I did zigzag over the design to keep it on for sure. (I do like things to last for years. It is the way I was taught by my mom.)

    Cross Pattern Modified

    My daughter got the fabric and sent it to me. My good friend Dori had lace that I was able to use for the trim all around the costume. Many yards of it thank heavens. I had the lace which I put around the collar then I put the collar into the costume instead of making a shirt to go with each costume. It did save on white fabric. I used a snap in the back instead of a hook and eye because the neck  opening seemed large to me. The snap made a smaller neck. I also thought the Kids could get in and out of it easier with the snap. The fabric is broadcloth so it’s thin. I used iron on interfacing to make the fabric stiffer and hold its shape better.


    Yes, I had to make a few changes to the directions. OK maybe I just used the directions more as a guide. I don’t normally do that. Then again most patterns I use I make a change here and there to fit the need. (I did learn that from my mom too.)

    When I was making these costumes I noticed how much I remembered the things that my mom did when she sewed. I didn’t sew much when I was younger but I did help my mom when she sewed. I usually did the pinning and hand work on things. I felt like Sacajawea, the American Indian woman that helped Lewis and Clark on their expedition. The things that she did to help them was learned by the age of 12 years old before she was kidnapped by another Indian tribe. It is amazing the things you remember when you need to.

    When you have the right tool it is amazing how simple a project can be. The brand of scissors I have are Mundial they work wonderfully. I got them all on sale. They are a very pretty penny if you don’t get them on sale. I think my favorite cutting ruler is the clear 24″ X 5″ Optima, O’lipfa, model no. 95246. It is perfect for tracing the patterns and altering etc.

    It is nice when a project comes together. expidoms . The lace that borders the whole thing I sewed along the edge first then I sewed around each point of the lace using the zigzag stitch.(zigzag stitch holds lace in place better than a straight stitch especially since this flat lace was a bit stretchy at the points. Zigzag stitch is used mostly with stretchy fabric and things.)  I pulled the lace to a point before I sewed it so it was more of a point. It did take awhile mainly cause my sewing machine kept acting up. But that is life. It is not always a smooth road but keep going and you will get to where you are going. ip address Just don’t give in or up.


    One project down ………. many to go.

    By the inch life is a cinch by the yard it’s hard. So I keep moving inch by inch.