This set is going to deviate a little bit in that I’m adding in a pair of pants for my 8 year old girl, Hazel…my very tall 8 year old girl, that I used a modified size 10/12 same as in the end of this post. So, this is really Cheap Baby Clothes and Big Sister Pants. I have to do this while they still let me make them matchy stuff.
I used only half of my left over knit binding from the previous set:
I used the same patterns for the baby that I did in the first two sets of the series. For the girl, I re-used the Burda Kids 9482 pants. I know I got it on sale, because who pays retail when they can avoid it? But I’ve also already used it, so I’m going to $0 it out. In fact, I’ve used it quite a few times. It’s a great basic pattern and beyond easy, not to mention knit fabric and serger friendly.
It was genius, genius I tell you, to get that roll of binding done. I cut my patterns, pinned and sewed them all at once. Easy peasy. Ignore my pinning – I hate pinning unless I have to…and then it’s obvious I’m severely right-handed.
As you can see…it’s a reverse of the Mill End set.
I really think I *may* have made one of those sets that will embarrass them some day. I’m going to hold on to it so I can be sure to get a group shot. I still have some of this dance-troop fabric left…I think I can make Hazel a matching shirt. I’ve already got some gray pants under way for Alex too….oh, they will hate me during the teen angst years. Bwahahaha.
OK, nuts and bolts. This was a bit more at $9 a yard on sale, plus that’s 2 elastic waist bands at $1 each = 3 items at the magic number $6.66 each. Coincidence?
To lighten up THAT little bomb, here’s a photo of my blurry angel in the Mill End set.
And here she is still….but obviously ready for a nap…
She had enough of me combing her hair…she took both of the combs away.
People who sew are packrats. We save old clothes and you can’t throw those shredded jeans out and I can use that nasty old single sock for something and…ok, maybe not that last one in my house but I’ve seen it happen.
In this lovely pile are a few things that are 4 years old or more. In it is also a decent quality kids’ pattern knit remnant I picked up at Joann’s. I always scan the remnant bins at Joann’s for fusibles, muslins, knits, ridiculously impractical flowy things for dress up bins and to practice on…because each remnant is 50% off current price. I say decent quality because it has a pretty good thickness/sturdiness to it.
I don’t recall exactly how much I got it for, but it was only a 3/4 yard, and the fabric is called Fruits N Flowers still at Joann’s…so the MAX I could have paid was $4.86 ((3/4 of 12.99) / 50%).
I sliced up an old nightgown of Hazel’s from a few years ago for the 2″ binding that I would need. The nightgown was from Old Navy and held up pretty well but more importantly it’s really cute cut at an angle and serged with a cream thread.
So, there you go, I “upcycled” an old cheap nightgown! Haha. See, there’s a good reason we’re packrats….eventually.
Then after lunch, drinking a bottle before nap-time, doing her best Kanye impression…
Now, here’s a little secret. I actually made this one first….it’s true. It was my test run. On the previous post with the next sets…I adjusted the neckline a bit to tighten it up and lengthened to cover the tummy area for these times when the Kanye urge strikes. All the rest will be in order.
Ok, money. I forgot in my last post about elastic for waistbands. I buy my elastic in bulk from Dove. I use about 20″ at a time for the baby and about 24″ at a time for the bigger kids…so 12 yards = 432 inches. I don’t recall, but even if it was $20 total with shipping, $20/432< $0.05 per inch. I’d say it averages out to about an extra $1 per pants/skirt. Obviously does not apply to shirts.
This was 2 garments at $4.86+$1=$2.93 each.
Next up….that leftover fabric from first post made into binding…and some fabric that reminds me of Sparkle Motion….
I want to prove that I can do better for less than even clearance clothes. I picked up some knit pants and a shirt for Zoe in size 18 months at Fred Meyers (aka Krogers) for the clearance price of $4.97 each…let’s round and say $5. It doesn’t get much cheaper than that and they look it – we’re talking hot pink velour and leopard print, hey-oh!
So I pulled out a pile of knits fabric and scraps including a 1 yard remnant at the Mill End Store for $4.99…again, rounding to $5.
I took an old onesie in the 9 month size to take apart and make an upsized pattern. Now this part is not an original post, per se, nor is saving money without sacrificing quality. I can’t improve on Dana…I don’t really think anyone can…she is the master of the deconstruction process, and my shirt pattern is based off of her pattern tracing and her 90-minute shirt that she posted almost 5 years ago! So, yeah. This is partially inspired by Dana’s hard work and you can either follow her tutorial or buy a pattern. The pants pattern I already have been using for about 9 months.
An added bonus of working with knits is that the bolts are ~59 inches wide…so a yard is almost 5 feet by 3 feet! Yatzy! On my first cut, I fit 1 baby shirt and 1 pair of pants.
Note I folded in the pants on the side seems as I only need 1/4″ seem allowance – your mileage may vary. I’m also using a serger for most of my knit construction which makes using a 1/4″ seem allowance a LOT easier. On my second cut, I got another full shirt pattern and approximately 5 yards of 2-inch binding strips which I’ll get back to later.
Now, if you’ve read Dana’s tutorial, you’ll know I’m loosely following her instructions. I only want 2″ binding strips; I believe she used 4″ strips and ribbed….this is partially just aesthetic so do what you will. Regarding direction of stretch fabric and cutting, I just try to remember which way I want it to stretch over the head/butt and cut that way. I don’t want to get bogged down into what Creative Gemini has already discussed better in a video here.
I cut strips from a sparkly greenish fabric from Joann’s and serged the edges in gray. I used 1/4 yard that I got as a remnant for $2.50 when I bought the rest of a bolt.
When I can, I try to sew in what I call “production mode” and sew in groupings such as serge all the binding, sew on all binding, serge all edges that can be serged at once…etc.
After constructing the shirt, I did the bottom binding last. I increased it to 3″ and pinned it a bit lower to add a bit more length to keep baby belly covered better. I used a sewing machine to sew on the binding and sew in the sleeves as I know how. I’m only adding in photos of the few things I’ve done a bit differently than Dana, but more or less it’s the same as her tutorial. For the pants, I followed the pattern directions albeit altered for serging.
For this project, here’s the final grouping.
Keep in mind that there is a lot of 2 inch binding to use which I will $0-out on a later project. My pants pattern was something like $2-3 a dozen pairs of pants ago, so I’m calling that a wash. I made the Dana tutorial shirt pattern which was free (thank you Dana!)
So, fabric total is $7.50 divided between 3 articles of clothing = $2.50 each
Stay tuned, there will be more. I still have 2 yards of that sparkly, “may crock” fabric, a really bad clearance/remnant bin habit and kids that won’t stop growing. I may even throw in some trendy “upcycling” jargon.
Ok, ok, so the thread is negligible when buying in serger-sized bulk, and my serger happened to be a gift from my awesome mom. My sewing machine was not a gift and is in what is called the mid-price range but I can’t really price machines out or their value as that’s up to the individual user.
I picked up some green sparkly knit fabric for a project and as I checked the label, this is what I found:
It’s cotton. I get that. It’s made in China, so who knows what will happen when you wash it; you should probably handle it as if it came from Tiffany’s. Ok. I will take that risk. It may bleed…duh. But it may “crock”….??? WTF?? So…it’s going to turn into pickles? It’s going to make me a nice roast dinner? It’s going to go to shit? Ah, probably that last one. Good thing I didn’t pay full price.
(UPDATE: I should note here, after seeing google searches, crocking means the color may wear off…as in, for the case of this sparkly knit, the sparkly was ‘printed’ on top and may rub off in the wash or on my hands as I sew it-and it did… “crock” is a real term, I’m just incredibly sarcastic.)
But that’s not all. Did you know that sewing is just now hitting the electronic revolution? Oh yes, it’s true. It has actually gone…..electronic!!!
Yup. That’s my serger. It’s not even that old, but it’s super modern! It’s electronic! What the hell else is it going to be? Hamster controlled? Brain controlled? I think my next serger will be a treadle. Or maybe I should really ‘unplug’ and just use the hand-crank. Yeah. It’s a bit blurry, so you can’t really see that to the left of Electronic is the little atomic symbol. Janome‘s marketing straight from the 50s: MyLock – Madmen Edition.
I am so very lucky to know Sabrina, the owner/editor, of Portland Stage Reviews. She’s a great friend, a wealth of knowledge and I am convinced just about everyone in Portland loves her from running into her in some capacity or another. Between her WordPress skills, her theatre expertise, her Timbers Army crew and her extensive podcasting – she’s a woman of many talents.
So when you have a friend like Sabrina and she asks you if you wouldn’t mind maybe once a month taking your kids to the theatre and writing up a review….you jump up and down and say “yes!!” Actually, what I really told her was, “Ok, but I think I’m getting the better end of this deal.”
Before the holidays, my 8 year old daughter and I went to see Pinkalicious and we had an amazing time.
At the price of movies these days, it’s not that much more to take the family to the theatre plus the theatre is such a bigger experience in my opinion.
Sabrina and her team take the time to go see and review what is happening in Portland, and sometimes what is traveling through that might also be in other towns. I recommend reading an honest opinion and taking an adventure to the theatre.
Next to my rotary cutters, my bobbin winder is my favorite sewing gadget. I have the Wrights SideWinder I picked up with, you guessed it, a coupon at Joann’s.
I haven’t even figured out how to use the bobbin winder on my Viking – why? This little guy does it fast, easy and I don’t have to rethread my machine, stop a project, change thread colors…and I can do a dozen in a few minutes with no hassle. My Viking has very specific bobbins, but I’ve also used my winder with an old Kenmore and a Janome and it works great on all 3 very different bobbins.
Vikings in particular are very….particular. This is my bobbin.
Most (newer) bobbins have a thread hole you pull the thread through before winding to keep it secure until it has a few rounds of thread in it. My Viking logo has to face down on my winder to get the thread the right direction and depending on your machine, that may not be necessary. My little Swedish bitch is picky, though, and everything has to be name brand.
I pop the bobbin on, slide the guide to the bobbin – when it reaches thread capacity, it turns the winder off. I lightly hold the string from the hole and let the winding pull it from my fingers – that is my highly technical way of getting the thread started.
When it’s done, it stops. I pop off the bobbin, trim the thread, and do it again.
Here is the whole machine in action…again, my fussy Viking likes Gütermann thread or better…so I buy the big spools usually in neutral colors like cream and gray – a trick I learned from mom the quilt master.
That should be capped. Mom The Quilt Master. It’s a reverent title.
Your mileage may vary – just do the thread test: if you can pull on the thread and it snaps easily, it’s going to snap in your machine. That is bad. Save it for basting, or what I like to call, hand-sewing that there’s no way in hell I’m going to do.
This pile makes me happy. I will still scream in pain as if I was bit by Cujo every time my bobbin runs out and I notice after I’ve gone several inches along…but it’s a little less dramatic if I know I have a pile of bobbins waiting to fill it.
I don’t know what it is about moving into a new rental, but I always go through the same series of steps:
I don’t do anything to make it “home-y” because it’s temporary.
I get tired of it not being home-y because it’s boring so I do a few things to make it better.
I get really frustrated because I should have just dug in and made it great and now I’m going to put in the effort.
I still will not paint, because I know me…and I know when we leave I’m not going to want to re-paint. I’ve done that and even a little Chinese red guest bathroom is a monumental chore to turn back to white when all you want to do is move on.
These next few months are going to have a lot of ‘fixing the home’ thrown in with my usual sewing/cooking/family adventures.
Today is fabric starching. This is an old, blurry, worn out photo of me in 1979. The wall behind me is not wallpaper, but starched fabric. I’ve mentioned before, my mom is amazing.
First, start with boring, ugly, beat-up cabinets. Give the surface a good wipe down just to make sure your starch will stick.
I went to Target to get starch. I wanted to get the liquid in the jug kind to dip the fabric, but they didn’t have any. These 2 cans of spray starch, little did I know, would be even better. They were priced at 95 cents each and had 55 cent coupons on them, so this was less than a buck. I’ve read tutorials where people used cornstarch but I have a healthy fear of insect infestations. Food-based starch = potentially nasty bugs. No thank you. Your phobias may vary.
I used about 4.5 yards of fabric for a mid-sized apartment kitchen. So, at Joann’s, this Alexander Henry fabric is about $13 a yard, and with a 40% off coupon making 5 yards for $25.
I highly recommend pre-washing your fabric. This will help prevent any color bleeding that may occur and put you back at square one for repainting when you leave. Also, it will help prevent shrinkage as it dries after starching.
Measure once, then measure again. Write it down unless your brain has fewer holes than mine.
Measure every cabinet. You will be surprised how one is actually a half an inch larger than the one next to it. Superior architecture in apartments and all….my little cabinets over my fridge are a half an inch smaller in width than the little ones over the stove vent. I would have loved to have been at the planning meeting for that one. No, not really.
I didn’t take a photo of me cutting the fabric…I’m pretty sure you can figure out how to cut fabric…I used my mat/rulers/rotary cutter because I’m slick like that, but a pair of scissors and squaring up on a book should do just fine. You’re going to trim the fabric to the cabinet later anyway, so don’t sweat it too much.
Spray the cabinet on the top lightly to ‘tack’ the fabric to it so it will sort of hold…and get ready for your house to smell like “Fresh Laundry Scent” aka turn on a fan.
Hold the fabric and spray the sh*t out of it. Really saturate it. Like…dripping off the cabinet kind of wet.
Smooth fabric out and down as gently as possible. I tried using a sponge, but ended up preferring my fingers to smooth out the bubbles versus the lumpy texture of a million layers of apartment paint. Also, I found the sponge stretched the fabric too much. I did use the sponge to dab the excess starch and catch some of the drips.
Like in this fuzzy picture, use your ridiculously long thumb nail or a butter knife to press into the corners if your cabinets are framed like mine. If not, ignore this part.
You’re going to have some overlap as the fabric gets wet and stretches a bit. This is an easy fix. Depending on the quality of your fabric and whether or not you pre-washed it, it will shrink up some after it dries. The rest is easily taken care of.
When it’s dry in a couple hours, you are going to take a MF-in’ SHARP box knife and slice the fabric excess. Unless you’re afraid of marring the cabinets…then just pull away slightly and trim. Don’t worry….it’s ok….just wait and see….
I went through 2 blades, both sides. The fabric peels away SUPER easily.
And whether you pull away and cut or use this method, you’re going to get some fray and peeling. It’s ok. Don’t freak.
You were a genius and got the uber cheap spray starch, right? Right. So just spray that little corner, dab it back down, smooth any threads, and you’re golden.
Check on your adorable helper and make sure they’re doing alright.
Stand back. Admire your handy work.
And the final touch? My mom’s colander from 1979.
This took me a weekend’s time but if you don’t have kids/meals/craziness you would easily get this done in a day and, again, less than $26. You have no excuses. Get off your butt and fix your kitchen!
I went in a few months after getting my new machine to get a walking foot and a binding foot. The funny part is the lady that helped me sold me a ruffler foot, not a walking foot, and I can’t blame her because I didn’t look closely at the box before I left the store! When I got home I realized the mistake and called the store to find out they’re out of walking foots. Le sigh. So…I found myself making a Big Sister skirt for a baby shower and thought, what the hell, let’s take that ruffler foot for a ride!
Now, a ruffler foot for a Viking is NOT cheap. We’re talking $70-80 not cheap. But on the other hand, I hate hate hate hand sewing unless it’s embroidery. Hate hate hate it. So…yeah, what the hell!
Look at it. That’s a beast of a foot. It has adjustable length between ruffle tucks so you can make it a really loose ruffle or super gathered, it had NO problem making ruffles in minky….and frankly I can’t imagine it would have an issue with any fabric…the mechanism with the teeth that pushes the fabric into tucks as you sew….it’s a beast! I admit it. It scared me a little (LOT).
You can see here some practice ruffle:
And here’s the ruffle attached to the big girl skirt….super cute if I do say so myself:
Now compared to the hand-gathered version:
I tend to prefer the ruffler foot and I’m not giving it back. Ever.
Ok, I am a bit scared of it and it is a bitch to put on the machine….and if you don’t do it right….like line up the part that holds on to the needle bolt on the shank and tighten it all down really good, you get this:
A needle breaking is a loud, scary thing….and when I’m on a $$ machine with a $$ foot attached to it and I hear the ruffler foot do its “katchunk” thing and then the “SNAP/BANG” sound of a needle breaking….I make some sounds of my own like “Motherf…..!”
All is fine though, and I’m a lot less ginger tightening those bolts now!
The beauty in a clean French seam is undeniable, but it’s also so very handy when dealing with fabrics that really like to fray but you don’t want to bother with the serger right that moment.
As usual I was in Joann’s and found a fine wale corduroy in a bright turquoise print that I just had to have 5 yards of…figuring I’d do something with it. It never fails when I do that, the nice lady at the counter asks what I’m going to do with it because who would buy that much fabric without a plan?!?! HAHAHA…me. Always…me. It does fray like crazy though, and while it has been turned into bibs and blankets where the seams are enclosed, I wanted to make Zoe a pair of pants in the fabric.
I’ve made these pants so often, I can just about do it with my eyes closed. It’s the same New Look 6793 pattern I’ve been using for her…just slowly unfolding the hem line down as she gets bigger! I haven’t bothered with the flouncy edge in the pattern or even gotten to the dresses! They’re good, roomy pants though for active babies.
Sewing a French seam is sort of weird at first because you have to sew it together right-side-out so that it will look ‘right’ inside out. You still end up using 5/8″ seam allowance – and much more efficiently in my opinion.
I sew a 1/4 inch seam and then trim it down to about 1/8 inch.
Then, when the pants are inside out, you’re ready to go over your seams and enclose them with another 1/4″ and with the fold, will use the majority of the 5/8″ seam allowance:
I think here with my hand and small scissors you can get an idea of scale and how neat and finished the inside seams are:
Turned right side out and the finished seam is squared and tight.
Then, if you’re like me, you tinker with whatever you have on hand to make something to go with it….like the pile of onesies!
Snip out a tree…ironed to a light weight stabilizer of course…
Sergers have gotten a lot less expensive, sure. Brother makes a really well reviewed serger for about $200. Heck, it has the new lay-in thread method where my older Janome/MyLock has knobs….and my Janome, while not even close to top of the line, was a lot more than $200. But some of the advice I’ve read out there to get a serger or not get a serger never quite get to the real dedication one needs to have a serger.
I love my serger. Sergers make fabrics that love to fray like flannel and corduroy much more enjoyable. Try to give a mother of a newborn new flannel pants for her baby and watch her hate you a month later after she’s picked an infinite amount of lint out of her baby’s diaper area….not good.
And as much as I LOVE a good French seam, when you’re doing a dozen pairs of flannel pants for Christmas, the serger is so much faster. Look at this flannel interfacing, enough for 4 coats…takes minutes:
My issue isn’t with the serger. My issue is you need to respect the serger. That $200 machine is just burning money if you don’t respect the serger. Sergers are the infants of the sewing world. You have to love and baby them often or they throw a tantrum of epic proportions. Doubt me? Call up your local dealer, ask them how often they see frozen up sergers and what the cost is for repair. It’s not pretty. These photos of lint are from the little pile of flannel interfacings above:
Of course sewing flannel on anything is going to make a ton of lint. It’s that plus the other maintenance. You should run every sewing machine you have at least once a month to keep it happy and moving. The owner’s manual to my serger reads to oil every 2 weeks. It’s not like a food processor that you can just leave in the cabinet until you take it out once every 6 months. Are you really going to sew with your serger that much? I’ve had a serger freeze up. A friend gave me an old 3-spool that was sitting around, I tinkered with it long enough to have it freeze up. Took it in, and it costs more to fix it than replace it. If I didn’t sew as much as I do, and I’m barely on the cusp of sewing enough, I would not have a serger. Pinking sheers, zig-zag stitch, French seams….there’s plenty of other options for clean seams. A serger not only takes a financial dedication, it takes a hefty time dedication.
That said, there are financial benefits to a serger. I can go into the fabric discount aisle (this was the Mill End Store) and pick out a <1 yard remnant of a knit and use a pattern I’d normally need more than a yard for. I know I’ll only use 1/4 seams on the serger instead of the 5/8 inch seams allotted on the pattern, so I can fudge a fit in a simple leggings design for my daughter:
These pants are a size 12ish girls and cost less than $5 with elastic and thread factored in and took less than an hour with the serger doing all the seems and edges. I finished the hem and waist band with the sewing machine.
Don’t get me wrong…I love Pantone! I’ve owned many Pantone color books over the years. Yes, Pantone color books. For printing. It’s this thing we used to do. We used to design on our huge desktop computers for print. One would tell the printer the colors chosen by using a Pantone books so they could match the colors. You know, CMYK and all that. This was a big deal for things like Annual Reports and brochures for mail that goes to a real mailbox.
But Pantone was not fashion forward. The fashion world would always be at least a year ahead of your Pantone book. This is why you can color mix yourself in PhotoShop and Illustrator…if anything, we in the design world would wait for Adidas or NIKE to announce the coming season’s fashion colors because they were the ones pushing the fashion color envelope. NOT Pantone. I once used a metallic burnt orange ink with blue on an annual report 3 years after Audi made the color popular on their A4. Not really fashion forward.
The absurdity would make me laugh if it wasn’t for the fact that Pantone has rewritten their history in the fashion world and you all bought it, hook, line and emerald green sinker.
I have a lovely, glorious, beautiful Husqvarna Viking Sapphire 835 that I bought last fall. It took a lot of money, for me, and a lot of mommy guilt to get over on spending that much on myself so I must refer to it as the lovely, glorious, beautiful….you get the idea.
I went in to the dealer a couple months later to get a walking foot, for knits and quilting, and a binding foot (aka adjustable bias binder) because I read a great review on See Kate Sew. In fact, I highly recommend the See Kate Sew blog, she does lots of cute stuff and regarding the binding foot, she took some great, detailed photos. In fact, she even did a follow up binding foot review for another manufacturer.
Anywho, I love bias tape but have done my share of swearing getting it lined up perfectly, or even close to perfect, all in the name of not having to hand-sew it on. I got this adorable 1-inch binding on clearance at Dove for these procrastination placemats …and they’re back in the procrastination pile because I just can’t stand simple placemats taking a ton of effort on my part.
So the magical binding foot is going to cure all my binding woes….well, not quite.
It’s a simple foot and with my machine’s click on shank, it pops on pretty easily.
You’ve got to feed the bias tape into the foot, adjust the gauge to the right size so it continues to feed correctly, attach the foot, move your thread into position through the foot, then slide your fabric in-between the bias tape sides into position to start. Takes some finagling – so much for simple, pop-on shank….
Once you have it all lined up and ready to go, it’s amazing. AH-Mazing-ING. I can’t sew this close and straight on my best day, even with a glorious machine. Do you see this perfection?
Ok, and now for some caveats. The dismount. Sigh. This is a pair of baby pant hems, so I tried 2 different ways to finish the circle of the cuff. Sewing straight through isn’t going to happen…it just gets hung up on itself and you get this funk:
It seems taking the whole dang thing off, attached to the garment, taking it apart, then lining up and sewing it is the best plan…
The pants turned out adorably and are often worn.
The other issue is that there’s no way one can do a mitered corner with this foot. I don’t even want to think of what a pain that would be…yeah…don’t want to think about it. Now, the procrastination placemats (TM) are oversized and I could conceivably round the corners which I just may do and use the foot….later…
Overall, I’m happy with the purchase. It was under $30 I think, or somewhere in there, and I can see how binding a large (rounded corner) quilt could be very satisfying with being able to pretend I had something to do with my stitching lining up so perfectly. If it was anymore than what I paid, however, I’d be a lot more sour about it.