Monday, January 31, 2011

The Letterman Sweater Tutorial

I'm so excited about sharing this tutorial because it was just so simple and took less than 2 hours!  So go gather your supplies and make one for your little man!

First things first, you need a cardigan.  I suppose you could just use fabric but at my local Goodwill they had the most rediculous stash of men's cardigans available.  Racks of them!  And they were all $3.99.  I'm pretty sure you'd spend that much on fabric if you decided to go that route.  PLUS... now you can call it refashioned, green and upcycled!  It's a winning sweater all ready!

So anyhow... just go get a sweater.

I picked an XL Tall one, mostly because I liked the buttons and the color.

 Now lay your sweater out nice and flat and place one of your kids form fitting shirts on top of it.  If your boy doesn't have a form fitting shirt (I had to dig in the dirty clothes to find an american apparel thermal shirt) use younger brothers shirt or a shirt he's out grown.

Match the shirts armpits up with the cardigans armpits.

You are going to cut right around this shirt.

When you get to the arms, fold them back or tuck them in so you can see the shape of the arm hole.

When you get to the neck, cut the back of the shirt straight to the other shoulder.

Your finished with the bodice.

Now you can cut your sleeves.  Place your shirt sleeve right on top of the cardigan's sleeve and cut around it.  Use sleeve you just cut to cut your second sleeve.

Now you've got 2 sleeves and a bodice!

Rummage through your scraps and cut 2 squares for your pockets.

Now with your 2nd sweater... your contrasting color you'll want to cut your letter and your arm band.  You can cut one large or 2 or 3 thinner ones.  It's up to you!

Next you're going to iron on your heat n' bond to your letter.

Make sure you use the heat n' bond lite because the other stuff gums up your needle when sewing and then your machine will start skipping stitches and then you'll get mad and curse it and then it'll just quit on you because it's mad at you and you never apologized.  Seriously, sewing machines are crazy fickle machines and they work best if we treat them like your fragile overly sensitive best friend.

Aaaany way!  Iron on your heat n' bond to the back of your letter.  If you want to double up your letter like mine you should go ahead and iron your letters together before ironing on to your sweater.  To do this just iron on the heat n' bond to both letters but only peal the back off of the top letter.  Now iron it onto the bottom letter, peal the back off of it and then iron it on to the sweater.

I suggest doing it like this because sometimes the stuff doesn't attach as good to the thicker fabrics like wool.  So you'll have to flip it over and iron from both sides (which would be impossible if you pealed off the paper!)

Now you should have a bodice, 2 sleeves, 2 pockets, a letter and an arm band!

Let's assemble them!

Sew your 2 bodice pieces together at the shoulders.  Right sides to right sides.

Sew your contrasting arm band onto the sleeve.  You'll want to do this higher than you'd think... mine came out way too low.  Do it right under the armpit line.

Now you can attach your 2 sleeves to the 2 bodice pieces.

Then match up your seams at the armpit, pin and sew from the bottom of the sweater, up to the arm pit and through to the wrist of your sleeve.

Repeat for the other side.

Now you should have a cardigan!  The rest is just finishing details!!

Fold, press and hem your sleeves, the bottom of the cardigan and the back of the neck.

And last but not least, sew your pockets and letter on!

I love the way this looks with just a plain t-shirt and jeans and converse but there are tons of ways to wear it!

Try it:

With a tie

Or go bold with a bow tie!

Oh and don't forget about your girls

What a weekend!

On Thursday night I submitted my "Inspired by Boys" entry and hoped for the best.  I knew I wouldn't have a chance to stalk the voting polls like I usually do because I was going to be out of town all weekend.

Friday I packed up the family for a mini vacation.  My great grandma turned 99 years old and we wanted to go visit and sing her happy birthday.  My grandma was excited about our visit and insisted that we take the train.  The tickets were really cheap but it wasn't exactly convenient.

We had to drive 3 hours to the train station, board the train with 5 little ones, car seats and enough luggage to last a family of 7 at least 3 days... yeah, we looked crazy and the people already aboard the train looked terrified as we climbed into the seats next to them.

While on the train the kids had a blast.  The conductor came by and showed them what the buttons did and let them punch there own tickets.  We walked down to the meal car and got apple juice and Cheetos, walked back to our seats and got our bags ready to go... that's right the train ride lasted an entire hour.  Once off the train my great aunt picked us up and we had to drive 45 minutes to get to her house.

Did I mention that the trip usually takes us 4 hours in the car?

So, yeah, not exactly convenient but we had so much fun with the kids and it will be a fun memory to look back on someday!

We got home late last night and put all the kids in bed and I finally had a chance to go through my 46 emails and check in on the Project Toddler Runway voting.  And I was so excited to see that I had won!!  How exciting!

I couldn't be more excited about how my little letterman cardigan turned out.  Exactly what I was looking for... a stylish trend with a load of nostalgia. 

I also learned that I made the cut and will be participating in American Crafter on Nap Time Crafters!!

I'm super excited and officially hooked on these blogging contests... of to share the news with my husband... he'll be less than thrilled =)

Friday, January 28, 2011

Week #4- Time to vote!!

It's Week #4 on Project Toddler Runway!

And this is the challenge I've been waiting for!  As a mom of 4 boys... yes you read that right and yes my bathroom is disgusting... I was so excited to hear about this challenge and have been waiting for weeks to see what the other mommas come up with!

So get over there to Shwin and Shwin and vote for your favorite "inspired by BOY" entry!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The Hey Miley! Cardi

Well I made it through another week on Project Toddler Runway with my Hey Miley! Sequin Cardigan.

I was floored when I saw what the other girls had made.  Everything from fur coats to full feathered gowns!

In the end this cute little outfit took the prize.

But this amazing dress was out!

Isn't it gorgeous?  I'm so sad that this was in the bottom and sort of dumbstruck as to what could have happened.  The pictures were a bit hard to see what was going on and if you didn't read the description of the dress it was a bit confusing.  In one picture it looked like a very simple black dress and then in another you could see the amazing feather details.  You had to read the description to know that the full feather skirt was detachable for versatility and easier care.  But oh I'd love to see that dress in person and I'm so looking forward to April's tutorial!  Go check out her blog and become a follower so you don't miss out on it!

My sequin cardigan fell somewhere in between.

When I first read the details of this challenge I wasn't too happy.  See... I'm not a sequin or fur or feathers kinda girl.  It's all just a bit much for me really.  But then I remembered seeing these sequin cardigans around that looked so super chic with jeans.

That's my kinda style.

Simple and classy but still fun and fashion forward.  I knew right away that Miss Livi Lu needed one.


On with the tutorial... actually, I feel really silly calling it that.  This thing was so easy to make it's just rediculous!  Aaaand I don't have any pics of the work... doh.

But if you need help or a pic just ask and I'll get it!

Step 1:  Cut your bodice.
  • Lay out your sequin fabric and lay it out... folded in half just like you bought it off the bolt.

  • Find a shirt that fits your little girl.  My fabric had a bit of stretch to it but not as much as her knit shirts so I used a shirt with very little stretch to it.

  • Take note of the direction of your fabric's stretch.  Chances are it stretches a bit both ways but mine stretched more one way than another.  You want to lay the shirt you are tracing on top of the fabric so that the stretch runs from side to side and not up and down. 
  • Tuck in your sleeves so you can see the shape of the arm holes and shoulders and cut.  You'll want 2 of these.
  • Now take one of your bodice pieces and cut it in half so you've got the 2 front pieces of your cardigan.

Step 2:  Cut your arms
  • Pull your arms back out of your tracing shirt.  
  • Fold the arms on the seam and make sure that your are cutting your fabric with the stretch going the width of the arms and not the length (just like you did with the bodice).  
  • You'll want to cut this on a fold and cut 2 of these too.

I didn't think of this until later but wouldn't it be cute to have some puff in the sleeves like Anne Hathaways Golden Globes dress!!

 So cute!

Step 3: Cut your lining
  • Repeat all those steps with your inner lining fabric. 
  • The sequin stuff is super itchy and Livi ran from me every time I tried it on her!  So make sure you line it with something.  
  • The stuff I used was a bit to stiff and I wasn't crazy about how the edges turned out, so I'd recommend something soft and thin.

Step 4:  Put it together
  • Now that all your pieces are cut you can start putting it together.
  • First match up your shoulder pieces and sew together.
  • Then sew up the sides and arm seam.
  • Repeat those steps for your lining.

Step 5:  Attach your cardigan to the lining
  • Put your lining and sequins right sides together and sew the neck line and fronts of the cardigan.
  • Now flip it so it's right side out and fold in your edges on the bottom of the cardigan and stitch shut.
  • Repeat for each of the sleeves.

And that's it.  You're done!

Now your little fashionista has a Hey Miley! Cardi too!

I paired it with some skinny jeans that were oh so easy to make thanks to this tutorial from Freshly Picked and a white tissue tee with military style shoulder cuffs.

She apparently felt the ensemble was missing something and grabbed some oversized shades, my iphone and wallet to complete the look. 

I'm gonna be in big trouble with this one huh?

Friday, January 21, 2011

Project Toddler Runway- Week 3

It's that time again!!

Time to go vote for your favorite Project Toddler Runway entry!

This week's theme was Sequins, Feathers and Fur, Oh My!  We were to design something for our tots that used either or all 3!  Sounds like a hot mess right?

I struggled a bit with this.  I wouldn't say I'm a fan of any of the 3... they're all a bit much for me.  But it was fun to be pushed out of my comfort zone and I couldn't be more excited about how my look turned out!!

So get over there to Shwin & Shwin and vote for your favorite!  Then stay tuned to find out which was mine and a quick tutorial!

And if you're still waiting on the Victorian Bustle Coat pattern, be patient with me!  It's coming... I think the pattern has been more work than the jacket!!

Monday, January 17, 2011

The Victorian Bustle Coat

Well, I had a blast with last weeks "A Flower in Your Hair" challenge on Project Toddler Runway.  I had this beautiful flower accessory as my inspiration piece.

Isn't it gorgeous?  You can find it and
lots of other pretty hair accessories at Addison Renee

But to tell you the truth I was pretty bummed when I first saw it.

All I could think was wedding and I didn't really want to design anything inspired by a wedding for a toddler.  It just seemed a bit predictable and boring.

So I started thinking outside the box.

I realized the flower was elegant and classy and sophisticated but then there was this handful of rhinestones that were poured inside screaming diva and super glam!

I went shopping with my little girl for some inspiration and right before I left the house I reached into the back of my closet to pull out my old coat.  It was a bit heavier and it was so cold that day!  This coat was a Christmas present from my husband.  A pretty winter white trench coat.  Over the course of a couple of years, I wore that poor coat out.  It was starting to look dingy and I lost a button and wore it thin in a couple of places but somehow while running around that day I still felt so classy and even a bit glamorous.

Nothing like a white coat... every woman should have one.

And so I started dreaming of a coat I could make for Olivia.

I had never made a coat before and I was feeling very intimidated.  They seemed so structured and it made sense to leave the pattern making to the professionals on this one.  So I started pattern shopping.  I found some that I almost liked on Etsy but the cheapskate in me wouldn't allow me to spend even $5 on a pattern that I knew I was only going to use as a starting point for my own design.

So I grabbed a coat of hers and my winter white coat and got to work.

I used some crummy old fabric that I've been hanging onto just for pattern making and cut pieces that matched the size of Olivia's coat and the general shapes in my coat.

I sewed my pattern pieces together and adjusted where needed and then cut the entire coat apart again.  Now I had a perfect pattern!

I traced my pattern onto a simple winter white fleece I found at Hancocks for only $2.99 a yard!  I doubled it all up so it would look a bit stiff and look more like wool then fleece.

And when I finished it I was happy.

Until I looked my inspiration flower again.

It looked like that beautiful simple white flower 
but it was missing the handful of rhinestones dumped in the center.

And so I cut the back of my dress apart and decided to do something drastic.  Something I have never seen done before.  I decided to bustle the back of that little coat!

I searched high and low for a bustle tutorial I understood and finally found something I thought I could work with here.

I basically ended up cutting out a long rectangle from the back of my coat.  Then I cut a new rectangle to replace it... but the new rectangle was 2x as big.  It was double the width and double the height of the old rectangle!  Then I pleated the rectangle and sewed it back in.

 Really it was that simple!!

I had so much fun making this coat and figuring it all out on my own.  That would have been enough for me even if it didn't turn out looking as good as it did.

So when I showed it to my 18 month old, Olivia and she dropped every one of her princess dolls and the sippy cup so she could run to me and back herself into the coat, it was the icing on the cake.  She seriously loves this coat and it just makes me grin.

Every girl should have a white coat... with a bustle of course.

NOTE:  Want to make your own Victorian Bustle Coat?  I'm in the process of writing a pattern and tutorial (FOR FREE!!) for this but the process looks super lengthy so it could be a while.  But if you've got your heart set on making one for your little girl let me know and as soon as I finish it I can shoot you an email and let you know I've finished it... or I guess you could just become a follower!  Or better yet do both!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Project Toddler Runway- Week 2!

Week 2 voting is up and going until Sunday and I couldn't be more excited about my entry!!

Of course it's still anonymous so you won't know until Monday which one is mine when I post a free pattern and tutorial!!!

I've got to figure out how to share a pattern with you all before then so I'm off to research.  If you know how to do it leave a comment and let me know!!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

I'd like you to meet: Elijah

I remember the day I realized I was pregnant with Elijah.  Mike and I had just started working as houseparents for a group home.  One of the major stipulations for the job was that you were only allowed to have 2 children of your own.  I assured them that we had one 6 month old baby and had planned to wait a bit before adding any new babies to our family.

Less than 2 weeks later I had to break the news.  I was terrified.  I just knew they would think I lied or covered it up to get the job.

But they didn't care at all.  Congratulations was all they said.

We debated through the entire pregnancy on what to call him.  We decided on Elijah after watching Eli Manning do an interview.  He seemed like a nice guy with a gentle spirit.

Our Elijah is a very nice boy.  But he does not have what anyone would call a "gentle" spirit.  Elijah is our wild child.

He is goofy.  He says the most bazaar things at the most bazaar times.

I love this crazy little boy.

Elijah started preK this year and was bringing home a couple of yellow checks a week.  We didn't understand why he was getting in trouble and were worried that his happy, wild child spirit was going to be the source of many years of grief for us. One day his teacher sent home a note.  She was very upset because Elijah had stuck his tongue out at her.

Now, my little boy might be a bit wild but I just couldn't believe that he would maliciously stick his tongue out at her.  I had to get to the bottom of this before my 4 yr old turned into a 16 yr old getting kicked out of school or something horrible like that! I asked him what he did and why and he explained that he was in trouble for something else (whistling during naptime) and when the teacher was face to face with him and explaining why he couldn't whistle, he stuck out his tongue at her.

He said it wasn't like a "nana booboo" tongue but a goofy tongue.

Elijah was simply trying to lighten the mood a bit... maybe even get himself out of trouble by making her laugh... making her forget. 

It's funny because I have one little boy (Mikey) that has my personality, the oldest child, control freak and perfectionist.  I have another little boy (Jacob) that looks like the spitting image of his daddy.  For a long time we said Elijah the wild child attitude of his Uncle Joseph.  But as he get's older I'm starting to realize that his personality is just like his daddy's.

He is all of the amazing things I love about my husband.  He has his same, sort of off-beat, sense of humor... that no one gets but me.  He has that middle child syndrome that say's "it's okay... I can go without" that so many people think is sad but I think it's beautiful.  It's just like Jesus tells us to do.  Most have to work to behave like that but for Elijah (and his daddy) it just comes naturally.

But today the boy with the biggest heart I've ever known turns 5.  I'm so lucky to be his mommy.

Happy Birthday Elijah
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