Getting Dolled Up with Remnants and Oddments

Barbies

The Barbies in the wake of the holiday weekend

This was the scene in the playroom after the holiday weekend a few weeks ago. I was informed by a girl grandkid in a loud and plaintive tone, that: “Nana, the boys were taking all the Barbies’ clothes off!” Did I mention we have 3 almost-seven-year-old grandsons? Apparently they played a big part in why the Barbies are making this look like a dollhouse of ill repute! My mom, who painstakingly made the dollhouse, would be so distraught if she knew! Anyway, something needed to be done to restore those Barbies to the heightened state of clothes horses they were intended to be.

But it wasn’t as easy as I thought. Sewing miniature clothes is no picnic, in my book. Especially when you can’t get into all those out-of-the-way storage spots where all the cool remnants are stashed.

ribbon storage

all sorts of ribbons are way up high

Unfortunately, lots of ribbons and various embellishments are stored in these boxes on a high shelf, to which I’m currently unable to climb. So I had to make do with this little assortment of notions remnants, like cord, rickrack, piping, that my grandmother might have called “oddments.” Oddments sounds like remnants. But these aren’t really cool stuff, they’re mostly leftovers that I’m too thrifty to throw out.

oddments

oddments

Barbie patterns

Barbie doll clothes patterns

I found two patterns in the stash; one I got at a yard sale a long time ago, and one that’s more recent. I looked at the old one, the Butterick Miss America Collection, and was stunned to see that it had less of the original pattern and more, much more, hand-traced patterns with a hand-lettered, very detailed sheaf of instruction sheets.

doll clothes pattern

contents of the pattern envelope

Giving myself a break, I stopped after 3 dresses. That’s because I didn’t want to search too deep for materials. Maybe, once I get more mobile. At least 3 Barbies are clothed for the moment.

Barbies

In their new dresses

Cabin Fever Remnant Project Lineup

“And on the seventh day…”

It’s the seventh day since I broke my foot, and have had to keep it elevated, and will continue until I go to the orthopedist a few more days from now.

The first couple of days I had more energy and a more hopeful outlook. Both energy and attitude have been steadily going downhill. But I don’t want to be negative. In fact, there are several bright facets to that diamond of derring-do, the clumsy trick that landed me here in cabin-feverama.

1) I have more time to read, watch TV, watch Craftsy class lessons, and delete extraneous stuff off my computer that is prompting iCloud to try and get me to buy more storage.
2) Mostly everywhere I go in the house has something nearby that can be converted to a foot-prop. Therefore, I can still serve as a tech-support person, sew, knit, Internet surf.
3) DH rented me a wheelchair so I can get around with greater ease, and crutches for the places that the wheelchair won’t go.

Since becoming bored out of my skull, I decided to do a little work on my wardrobe. This guy, #Adamsays, “I think, no matter what your age is, a pencil skirt is the most flattering skirt out there.”

I like the pencil skirt. I wanted to try out this pattern, especially since the skirt only takes 1 yard no matter what size, and see if it works with some choice remnants in the stash.

Simplicity pattern

Threads Pattern for skirt, top, pants

I chose a 1-yard piece of charcoal Ponte Roma for skirt #1, which normally sells for $12.99 per yard. Ponte Roma is a soft, luxe, drapey knit (in this case anyway). For possible tops, I have an almost 3/4 yard remnant of gray reversible knit that I think will fit the bill for this April 2015 Burdastyle Super Easy vest (normally $16.99 per yard).

April 2015 Burdastyle

BurdaStyle ridiculously easy clothes patterns

Then there’s a .83 of a yard piece of gray, aqua and peach/pink Hacci sweater knit, 57″ wide, that looks like it will make an awesome spring top. And a yard of blush-pink open-work Leno t-shirt knit for a tunic. I’ve seen lots of combinations of gray and blush-pink, and it’s savory together. Hacci knit, normal price is $12.99 per yard. Leno knit piece, normally $9.99 per yard. Of course, sold as remnants, all these cha-ching’d up at half the prices quoted herein.

Having had success with the first pencil skirt, why not another one in black? Not just ordinary black, but a glossy, Sleek Foil Denim Knit that looks a bit like shiny leather? Normally $24.99 per yard, it’s 55″ wide, so a .945 yard remnant actually provided a whole skirt. And to go with it, a top out of animal print sweater knit with a black foil collar. True, the collar piece is supposed to be cut on the bias, however, the fabric stretches in all directions, so this little neckline piece was cut from a scrap of the skirt fabric, on the straight grain. This animal print sweater-knit piece is older and I’ve lost the price tag, so we’ll just presume it is the same price as the Hacci, $12.99 per yard.

Remnant fabrics for 2 skirts, 3 tops and a vest: a little less than $40 (half of what it would be if bought off the bolt). Simplicity pattern: on sale for $1.99 (retail price $18.95). Cost of Burdastyle April issue £4.99 plus postage. Various notions: 2 zippers, thread, single-fold bias tape from stash. Estimated gasoline savings due to not being able to go anywhere because of broken foot: $15.

black pencil skirt

black pencil skirt

gray pencil skirt

charcoal Ponte Roma pencil skirt

reversible vest

reversible vest (Burda calls it a waistcoat)

Hacci sweater knit top

Hacci sweater knit top

Simplicity top

animal print sweater knit top with pleather collar

Leno weave top

Leno weave tunic top

First top was the animal print sweater knit, view C from the Simplicity pattern. Next was the Hacci sweater knit, a combination of views A and C. It has a stand-up collar and the back hem is a little longer than the front hem. I presumed for value’s sake that the two knits were similar. In the midst of sewing, they were not much alike at all. The animal print knit, although soft and light, had a much firmer texture than the Hacci. The Hacci sweater knit frayed at the ends, and while sewing the very first seam, the knit fabric bunched up under the needle and needed emergency extrication by prying up the throat plate and pushing the birds nest up through the needle hole with a screw driver blade. After that, I applied SewKeysE knit bias tape to just about every seam. Stretch needle used for all these knits. Maybe when I get a little more mobile, I can add some P.S. pictures of me wearing them…

A Frozen Remnant Project

Sometimes the desire to be thrifty can take too great a priority in your life-script.

By that, I mean that thriftiness can rule your life to the point that you feel saving the maximum amount of money is your highest priority. Therefore, you are stymied when trying to make a decision, because you feel that, “What if I make this choice, then something else comes along that will save me even more money?” So you put it off, until you feel the coup de grace of remnant projects comes along. But it doesn’t, so there you are, losing creativity in the meantime.

Sometimes that happens to me. But also, I have vague ideas for projects, I just need to ruminate about them for a little while until I’m sure I can pull them off. And I’ve also done projects where I rush into them, and they never quite rise to the level of greatness I first envisioned. So they either look bad, or they’re relegated to the UFO colony until I summon up enough enthusiasm to take them on again until completion.

This project sat in a pile of fabric until I had an urge to do spring cleaning in the sewing room. It consisted of a great little fabric remnant named CP51876 Sisters Framed Toss, copyright Disney for Springs Creative Products Group LLC that I snagged from the remnant bin at JoAnn Fabric. It could have been a great winter project, as it is a warm minky fabric. It could have been a Valentine’s Day project because it is pink and has hearts. But I missed the mark on both: now it’s spring, and though we don’t need warm blankets in Florida, I noticed last time one of my granddaughters came to stay overnight, she had a little blankie similar to this one, so I pressed forward. No little girl would reject a Frozen blanket, I thought, even if it could just be for playtime purposes and not a real bed linen.

All materials were in the fabric stash already, so I didn’t have to go out and buy anything.

blanket

sewing the blanket binding on

Yes, you know me, the project wasn’t completely trouble-free. I used as a backing, a remnant of white Ultra Cuddle (currently $10.99 per yard on Joann’s web site). The Anna and Elsa Frozen remnant was 1.79 yards, currently on sale at the web site for $11.99 per yard. Usually Joann’s remnants are a yard or less, but they will allow larger pieces for home-dec and fleece fabrics. Sold as remnants, these pieces of material go for 1/2 the regular price. The satin blanket binding has been in the stash for a long time. If you look very closely at the picture, you might notice that part of the binding is a wee bit lighter in color. I didn’t have enough of the pink to go all the way around the blanket, so I added what was left of a package of very light pinkish-white satin blanket binding that had been part of my grandmother’s stash. Yep, I do stuff like that.

Frozen blanket

Frozen blanket, made from remnants

One other annoying problem that came up, was the lack of cohesion between the three very different fabrics while trying to sew them together. The Frozen print is minky, a sort of ultrasuede one-way stretch knit, and the Ultra Cuddle is a plushy, stretchy-in-all-directions knit, and the blanket binding has a satiny appearance, but is a rigid, woven polyester. So I laid out the Ultra Cuddle on the dining room table, and put the Frozen fabric on top, and cut out all around it so the front and back would be the same size. But when I started sewing, the Cuddle stretched more, so that it was looking like I’d end up with a couple more inches of backing than front. I remedied that by using a roller presser foot. I held the back of the strip of binding, with the two fabrics sandwiched in the center of the folded strip, in one hand and the front of the strip in the other hand, and sort of fed that strip under the needle, then stretched out the next length to be attached in the same way.

sewing machine roller presser foot

roller presser foot

You could probably use a quilting foot or a walking foot as well. Now, if I wasn’t the thrifty person that I am, I would have waited and gotten another package of pink satin blanket binding so it would all match perfectly, and then it would look as good as a store-bought blanket. But the contrast between the two slightly different colors of blanket binding isn’t extreme.

Best (?), with Remnants

The May issue of Threads has an article that enticed and enchanted me from the cover until I put the project down and said, “There, I’m finished.” The cover proclaimed “Design the Best Skirt for Your Body.” Since my body won’t listen to me and immediately shed the extra 5 to 10 inches that is hanging around my waist like an albatross, I was interested in seeing just what skirt the author Kelly Tygert thinks my body would look good in. Page 51 is where the article begins, and it shows 4 different skirt types, each with a solid black panel that is supposed to accentuate or eliminate the model’s waistline yay’s or nay’s.

Tygert’s four waistline types, according to the article, are rectangle, inverted triangle, hourglass, or triangle. Although I could have gone with either rectangle or triangle, I chose to experiment with the latter. I had two remnants, one a solid black knit, and a black and white spandex-infused almost-yard that I would have loved to have a skirt from, but I know less than a yard is not enough to cover my bohunkus without assistance from some additional fabric.

Magazine article and remnant

Threads article and remnant

I used the skirt sloper I’d drafted from Deborah Moebes’ Craftsy Class (you can see how I made it in this post) and altered it according to the pattern in the Threads article. As is usual for me, I had problems from A to Z.

First off, the black fabric turned out to be lighter and more sheer than I thought. Therefore, when I sewed the black panels to the print fabric, it wasn’t a good match for them. I had trouble sewing the curve and making it even on both sides of the panel. I decided to cut out two of each black piece, the back waistband and the front waistband with the center panel, and make a matching facing on the inside that was an exact copy of what you see on the outside. That was looking better. For the curves where the print fabric meets the black panel down the center, I ironed on some Pellon interfacing to the inside, so that the horrible old panel didn’t look so wrinkled and awkward.

front of skirt

front, before interfacing

Anyway, it worked. And though I hand-basted the facings down on the inside, before stitching in the ditch along the seam lines on the outside, I felt the extra work was worth it because the fabric was too springy to really get ironed into place. And just a little more laboring over it with a hot iron might turn it into melted, smelly, burnt polyester.

Threads skirt

color-blocked skirt

So there we have it, supposedly the best skirt for my figure type, and definitely a bargain in that one can use less of the expensive fashion fabric to accomplish such, even making use of a half-price remnant that might otherwise have gone into the landfill. What do you think?

Stretchy Remnant Possibilities

Spring is in the air! Excited to see soft and bright colors, in the landscape and in fabrics. It makes me think about sewing something.

Since I made a pair of shorts a few posts ago that I was not particularly proud of, I did a re-do of that project and added a contrasty/matchy leotard.

leotard & shorts

Jalie yoga shorts and Kwik-Sew leotard

I was happier about these shorts than the red pair in which I practiced using the double-needle. With this blue pair, I did much better with the double needle. Let me hasten to add, the process still wasn’t trouble-free. If I had a job doing this, I would have been so fired, by now.

My idea to make the girls a white shrug/sweater led me to this pattern, which also included a little dirndl-like skirt and a short-sleeve leotard.

sweater

Kwik Sew shrug/sweater

Everyone should have a white sweater in their closet, right? Except maybe Goth chicks. This little front-tying shrug can go with a lot of outfits. The fabric (not a remnant) is a white sweater-knit that is very easily snagged, so maybe it isn’t a good choice for kids’ clothes. Since there was a leotard included in the pattern, and it looked easy, I gave it a try. The Kwik-Sew leotard was easy and very basic, compared to the Jalie ones I’ve made before. And the sizing is different. This one is a size 8 or 10 girl, and I altered it some by adding 2 inches to the length of it, like I do with the Jalie ones. It looks huge. I may not have used all of the 5/8″ seam allowance, having been accustomed to the smaller allowance of the Jalie patterns. It’s a leopard leotard. The 1-yard leopard (they call it “Big Cat”) spandex fabric, and the turquoise (less than a yard) and silver (scrap) fabrics for the shorts, are remnants. The Big Cat fabric is normally $16.99 per yard, but half that price when sold as a remnant. From the yard, I had this much left over that I can possibly make a cute infinity scarf as part of the outfit shown on this pattern:

spandex remnant

Big Cat remnant project with leftover fabric for another project

The pattern is Simplicity 1323, an American Sewing Guild Design. The retail price of the pattern is $18.95 but during JoAnn’s Simplicity sale it sold for $1.99. Thought I could give this one a try; it looks cute.

A Trying Day, with Twin Needles and a Demented Cat

I saw a sewing blog post this morning with this leading question as the title: What is your Achilles Heel of sewing? But when I read the post, the content had nothing to do with the title, as far as I could see. But that’s the way these last couple of days have been for me. I checked, and Mercury is not in retrograde at the moment. Nevertheless, things are going slow, not at all, or incredibly botched-up.

I wanted to do something new in the sewing category, so I dragged out a twin needle from the stash to do some topstitching and hemming on this pair of Jalie yoga shorts, as the pattern directs. Turned out to be quite a learning curve. The fabrics used are two-way stretch performance remnants.

thread bird-nesting

thread bird-nesting

I looked in the manual that came with the machine, and threaded the two spools as directed. One spool had red Gutermann thread, the other had a brick-red color polyester thread, a pricey thread that I ordered online from Superior Threads. Got the double-thread seam going for a while, then the Superior thread kept disappearing. Upon investigation, it was apparently shredding up into a fuzzy ball inside the thread path of the machine. Changed to a red rayon Robison-Anton thread. That’s when the bird-nesting marathon began. Needle-less to say, I had to re-thread every time an undesirable seam was sewn, and go through lots of picking and clipping. Grrrr. I switched to an extra-wide twin needle. Bad idea! The seam pulled the two rows of stitching together with a big loopy pucker in between. More seam-ripping ensued. So finally I got an inkling: maybe there’s a setting for twin-needle sewing on this machine, even though I didn’t see a word about it in the manual.

Et voilá! There was.

Twin-needle sewing

Twin-needle setting under Tools

Even so, with machine on the special setting, it didn’t go completely well forever after. I still had to thread and re-thread, and there were other glitches as well.

The poor cat had his thyroid burned out with radioactive iodine, and he hasn’t been himself. Or maybe he’s been a crazed, geriatric version of himself, with advanced dementia. He’s been staggering around the house moaning and wailing LOUDLY at every door, and he will only lap broth from cat food and ignore the solid food completely. We got him some meat-flavored baby food, like the vet suggested, and he took a few slurps of that and then he was done. Next try: canned fish stock at $3.50 a pop. I hope we don’t end up having to give it to him through an IV!

Finally finished the shorts, but I feel I must make another pair that is better. Not sure how the fabric will hold up with so many needle holes in it from stitching and restitching with double the number of needle!

Jalie yoga shorts

Jalie yoga shorts



Grayzie in his new favorite place to nap.

Down by the Riverside

Disney Port Orleans Riverside resort

Good Morning Port Orleans Riverside Resort

Continuing in the vein of “thrifty creations,” we want to craft a family vacation later in the summer that has lots of fun amenities going for it, but doesn’t break the bank. Being close to Walt Disney World, we decided to check it out although most of those options seem gi-normous-ly expensive. A tip came our way from a reliable source (DH’s sister-in-law) that Disney Port Orleans Riverside might be a good bet. So we are doing a trial run to see how the place measures up. Disney has loads of comparable resorts in the vicinity, such as Port Orleans French Quarter, Coronado Springs, Saratoga Springs, Old Key West, and many more. But one drawing card for Riverside is the less-expensive room rate (it’s billed as ‘more rural’ than the French Quarter) and another plus: the addition of a pull-down Murphy bed available in some of the rooms, which will allow more than 4 people to a room. Being Florida residents will give us a discount price, too.

After a sweet night’s sleep, we can figure out what we might want to do until check-out time creeps up tomorrow. This is a working vay-cay for us, but it’s nice just the same. Downloaded a phone app for Disney that tracks our whereabouts and shows what’s going on in any given location. Another high-tech perk: the RF wristband for breezing through turnstiles and cash registers.

Disney resort

Our room upstairs in the Magnolia section

pool

balcony overlooks a pool

There are lots of pools here. We’re here the first couple days in March and it’s 80 degrees this week. Balmy, beautiful, flowers just starting to bud. In the late summer it will be sweltering, but again, the resort offers loads of pool options. There’s water play in the form of fishing and more at Ol’ Man Island, you can schedule a Fireworks or Birthday cruise, and some may want to shell out and take a day at one of the major Disney parks: Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Wilderness Adventure, Typhoon Lagoon…so many possibilities to pick from.

Disney Port Orleans

Ol’ Man Island, a short stroll away

walkway

walkway to lobby and food court

It’s early, this very slightly misty morning and joggers are running the track, folks meandering through the scenic walkways to breakfast and shopping and connecting through various depots to the day’s itineraries. During my early morning swim in the pool, I’m in the midst of a cacophony of bird calls. Checking around to see if they might be coming from speakers mounted surreptitiously in the vicinity (this is Disney, after all) but they appear to be all real. Must be lots more birds migrating down here from the northeast, where the residents are going through Snowmageddon.

Port Orleans resort

What shall we do today?

We looked at lodging in another area of the resort.

Alligator Bayou

Alligator Bayou rooms facing pools

Ol' Man Island pool

Big pool on Ol’ Man Island (this is just a small loop of the whole huge pool)

Water taxi

Water taxi depot at Riverside

I wonder how they get the water to look so black? Did they maybe plant a dark plastic liner on the riverbed when they dug it? Do they pour ink into it on a regular schedule? You can catch the water taxi and tour around the resort, glide over to the French Quarter and partake of the famous beignets and the Scat Cat’s Club, keep on floating down to Downtown Disney…the possibilities are amazing.

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