Monthly Archives: January 2011

01.31.11Make it Monday: An Intro and debut

It order to help me feel like I am a little more in control (and less like I have a zillion things I want to do and can’t figure out what order I want to do them in) I decided to set specific dates for certain posts. We will see how long this last and if you as readers like it :) This will definitely be malleable and change according to what is going on in our crazy household. Right now I am thinking of the following:

Make it Monday: A new Pattern and tutorial is debuted
Take a look Tuesday: I will show a project I have been working on that hasn’t been on the blog
Whats cookin’ good lookin’ Wednesday: What I made for dinner lately and love
Tricks and Trades Thursday: Examples of how I photoshop pictures I took recently, camera settings I used and photography trade secrets I think might be helpful.
Foreign Service Friday: A post about what it is like working for the Foreign Service and living abroad
Saturday and Sunday are free days (I will most likely do a pattern and tutorial together on one of these days and take Sunday off)

Before I jump into my first Make It Monday I want to remind you lovely readers that each pattern I make is completely original and property of No Mans Land by Kelly Crawford. I have zero problem with anyone making and selling items made from my patterns but they are under no circumstance to be sold, re-offered on any other blog or reproduced in anyway. I also want to make sure that it is understood that while I try pretty hard to make the patterns perfect there may be some pieces that don’t line up perfectly. If this is the case it will usually only be a minor misalignment that you can work around. As for sizing since I do not use a pattern making program I only offer the pattern in the size I make it. Unfortunately you will have to use a copier to enlarge or reduce the patterns. I am hoping to eventually purchase a pattern making program but am weighing the options of spending the mola ha!  Alright now that all the small print is out of the way lets get to it!
For my first Make it Monday we will be making the San Marino dress.
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This was a MAJOR undertaking, making this dress. Really one of my most intense projects to date. I am very proud of how the dress turned out (even if it isn’t fairing all that well in the competition ha!) It is a very well made dress ie. it isn’t going to fall apart and has hardly and raw edges. It has tons of fun little details. Plus making an entirely new pattern is always a bit of a challenge (that I enjoy of course!)
_MG_2373_3476proof
The pattern can be downloaded and printed HERE. I was hesitant to offer it, as the dress itself did not receive much of a response so I don’t know how much use the pattern will get. But I figure I took the time to make it so might as well get it out there :) It is 20 pages long… yeah, 20! As always the pattern pieces will need to be taped together and then cut out. I tried a new method this week. Some of the pattern pieces have stars that you line up, some of them letters. If you are going to make the dress and you download the pattern will you let me know which you like better? I want to make sure I make it as easy as possible. If you would like to sew a long I would love the company!

What you need
3 yards of fabric
8 buttons
four rectangles of sew on velcro
Scissor
Sewing Machine
Iron & board
A really good play list because this us going to take a bit :)
I am not going to sugar coat it, this pattern isn’t a walk in the park. It isn’t particularly hard, but be sure to THINK before you sew. I stopped so many times to just think before I stitched. It will save you time and frustration. Alright, once you have taped together and cut out your pattern pieces we are going to start with out with the pattern pieces labeled as Left bodice piece. You will only need to cut one of these. Once you have this cut, cut two of your front ruffle. Once you have them cut out take one and iron it in half so you have one raw end and one finished edge. Sew a gathering stitch along the raw edge and gather it up until it will line up with the longer edge of your “left bodice piece”
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Once it lines up go a head and pin the raw edges in place. Once pinned sew up the raw edge. 
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Take the piece back to the iron and iron open the ruffle. 
Now lets cut out the “main bodice piece” you will need four (4) of these. After cutting them out take one and also grab your velcro. Take the “scratchy” piece and cut it into four smallish rectangles. Pin the velcro to the wrong side along the shorter edge on main bodice piece. 
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Sew them into place.  Grab your “left bodice piece”. Line up the shoulders and match up the center raw edges. Once everything is lined up pin it in place. 
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When you have it pinned, topstitch along the left bodice piece right next to the ruffle. 
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Grab a second piece of main bodice and lay it right side down, take the main bodice piece you just ruffled and lay it on top right side up. Match up edges. Now take your second ruffle piece and sew it up the exact same way you made your first one. (This one will be longer then you need but just trim excess). Pin to the short edge, raw sides together. 
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Once done now is a great time to sew on your buttons. I ended up with 8 buttons. 
Grab your two other main bodice pieces. On one of them we are going to sew the soft velcro. I did this by laying the scratchy velcro right next to it to line them up. 
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Once you have attached them, flip the piece so that right side is down and line it up with the other main bodice piece so that right sides are together. 
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The only place you need to sew is along the edge where the pins are. Don’t worry about sewing anywhere else right now. Once you have sewn here flip everything so that right sides are out. This next part is a little tricky but if you take your time and think about it you will get through it. Now were are going to attach the front pieces to the back pieces. Using your pattern piece cut 2 back pieces. We are going to separate the layers now and sew them together. Think about this essentially as a top piece and a lining piece. I first laid everything out so I could see how it was supposed to look
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Now lay your front pieces right side up. Take one of your back bodice pieces and lay it right sides down. Sew up the side ONLY on your TOP main bodice piece. Now lay down your second bodice piece, right side down and sew it to the second layer of main bodice pieces. Now we need to do the shoulders. You are going to do the exact same thing just this time on the shoulders. 
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Once you are done flip everything so it is right sides out and make sure everything looks good. 
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Set this aside and grab your little half moon “shoulder ruffle” pieces. There should be four (4) of these. Separate them into two sets  and lay them so that right sides are together and pin in place,
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Sew a gathering stitch across the arch and gather it up. 
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Now, flip your top bodice so that it is inside out. Line up your arm pit pieces. Find the center of your gathered sleeve pieces and match it up with your shoulder seam. Pin the ruffle in between the two layers so that the raw edges line up. Pin in place. 
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Sew from one side to the other. Now grab the LONG ruffle piece you cut out. 
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Take it to your ironing board. You are going to first iron over both ends so that they are nice and finished. THEN iron the entire strips in half. Once done gather it up with a gathering stitch. You want it to be the same length as your neckline. Once done take your two neck band pieces and pin them right sides together on either side of the ruffles raw edge. Pin into place.
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Sew all the way along, then flip the band so that right sides are out. go back to your ironing board and iron UP both raw edges of the neck band so you have a nice finished edge
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Slide the neck line into this little pocket and pin in place. 
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Once in place topstitch all the way around. Oh my goodness you are totally done with the hard part!!! Noe take your skirt bottom pieces. HEADS UP!!! I would HIGHLY suggest making these larger then they are Mac is a TINY girl and when we tried this on her friend who was the same age we could get it over her head ha! So give your self some leeway and cut a larger rectangle. Once you feel comfortable with the size cut two on the fold. Lay the rectangles right sides together and stitch up the sides. Keeping the skirt wrong sides out slide it up over the top of the dress and line up the raw edges (if you made your rectangle larger you may need to do a gathering stitch across the top). Once the raw edges are line up, pin in place and sew all the way around. Turn the dress right side out. 
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Now all you have to do is hem it and make yourself a belt. I just cut a SUPER long piece of fabric, folded it on itself and stitch along the ends and one side leaving a little space to flip it inside out. How long and wide it is depends on your taste. That is it!!! I hope the instructions were clear. This one was a dousey (spcheck?) to think up. My little sister requested I make her one and I think I am going to make a nice emerald green one for her. She is 19 and I will probably enlarge the pattern by copying it at 130%. She is an avid Irish dancer and TINY. We’ll see how it turns out ha! Happy sewing friends!

01.30.11Children’s Clothes– Stores you should know

While I LOVE being able to whip out a dress for myself every now and then (and am feeling the itch to this weekend) my real love is {duh} making clothes for my cuties. After everyone else is asleep I am either sewing away OR browsing my favorite children’s clothiers online. Since most of these stores are only found outside the US I mainly look at them for inspiration, but there are a few that do sell items online. There are of course hundreds of fun children’s clothiers out there, I just thought every so often I could share one of my favorites with you. Today I have to tell you about:
First of all you should know I am OBSESSED with cute little girl shoes. 
So even if Elias & Grace only sold their shoes I would STILL be addicted to their site
But they don’t just sell shoes. They sell Uh-mazingly perfect children’s clothes as well. 
They also have this in Chambray and I LOVE it. Added bonus their boy items are fabulous
Now their prices are fairly steep but their sales are fantastic. I am considering grabbing these wellies since I think they would look awesome on either my boys or Evie
I guess I kinda see this store as England’s answer to America’s Crewcuts
They also have a fun little “magazine” that comes out each season dubbing the must have items. 
They are currently have a great winter sale and *bonus* they do ship…. although it will set you back 25 sterling to ship to the states, ouch. But for some of those shoes? Yeah, I totally did it. Hope you find some of your own inspiration!
PS Remember to leave a comment on the last post to be entered into the Couture Cutie giveaway!
PPS Have you voted for your favorite over on Project Run and Play? You, like, totally should!

Couture Cutie Tutorial and Give A Way

I am excited to share the tutorial on how to make your own Couture Cutie {Mullet Dress}. I have received several emails about buying one and since I don’t have a shop I wanted to make sure you can make one for yourself!

In order to make this tutorial I had to make another dress (I was silly and didn’t take pictures as I went for the one pictured above). This time I did the front a little different and it is a larger size. Sorry for the rather lame pictures but it is too big for Evie and I didn’t have the time to round up a model :)
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The back has the same pleating and bustle, but instead of a rosette I did a pretty blue bow.
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This particular one is up for grabs! All you need to do is hop over to Project Run and Play, check out this weeks competition and vote! Of course I would love if you would vote for my creation but I don’t think that is a very good “spirit of competition” to require it :) Once you have voted hop back here and leave a comment letting me know you voted and you will be entered! Easy-peasy 1-2-threasy! 

Now, lets get sewing!!!

You will need to purchase the Sweet Little Dress pattern (or a similar one). This dress is fabulously easy and I promise the bustle is really simple as well. You will need to cut out 2 extra “main dress pieces”. One will be underneath all the ruffles and can be a simple white cotton (or any color). The other will be used as a backing for your “back main” part of the dress and also won’t really be seen. You will also need 3 long strips of tulle and 3 long strips of color fabric. You can decide if you would like pleats, or a ruffle or even just a fun notion edging for the triangle on the back.
Once you have gathered your material and cut out your original pattern pieces follow the cutting instructions except only cut one of the main fabric pieces. Now take the “main” pattern piece and cut a diagonal curved line from the bottom left corner up to the middle of the “fold” side.
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Using this pattern cut out two more “main” pieces.
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This next part only need be followed if you would like to make pleats. If you do cut a LONG strip of fabric that is four inches wide
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Once you do this fold the piece in half and iron it into place. Once it is well ironed use your iron to make pleats by folding the fabric onto itself.
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Take your pleats and lay it on the right side of one of your main fabric pieces so that the raw edges line up.
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Take your second “main fabric” piece and lay it right side down, again lining up raw edges and then pin all the way around.
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Sew up one side of the triangle and down the other. Once down turn the entire thing inside out. You can topstitch if you like.
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Next take your long strips of fabric and tulle. I left my edges unfinished because I like that look but you can totally hem them up.
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Gather the pieces up until the are the same width as your last main fabric piece. I started with a solid yellow.
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Then I repeat the process with the tulle, then back to a solid color then a toile…. I think you get the point ha! I usually use six strips and that is high enough up. Once you are done stack your pleated back piece on top of your just finished ruffle main piece (wrong side to right side). Now all you have to do is follow the Sweet Dress Pattern instructions treating the two back pieces as if they were one! To keep everything lined up I pine the two back pieces together with pins that are far enough in that I won’t sew over them.
Not to bad right? I hope you win! This would make a super cute Easter Dress :) Thanks for all your wonderful support through out this Project Run and Play experience. You have no idea how much I appreciate it!

San Marino Dress for Project Run and Play

This weeks challenge over at Project Run and Play was to find an adult
outfit and create it for children. I took this to mean we were
supposed to be inspired by an adult outfit and “minify” it for our
munchkins… I am over the top nervous that I interpreted this wrong
but whatcha gunna do right? Anyhow, I have been coveting Shabby Apples San Gabriel dress for
over a year.

Every time there is a sale I pop it in my cart and then after an hour
of browsing other sites I force myself to close the browser and walk
away. I thought this would be a perfect opportunity to try it out on a
less intimidating scale. So, I can up with the San Marino (a small
suburb of San Gabriel in CA).

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I love how it turned out. Although when I make an adult version I will
tone down the ruffle a tad to be more like the original. But my
gorgeous little model loves over the top ruffles so I had to deliver.

Untitled-1

In an effort to make it more child friendly, instead of a ton of
buttons you have to wrangle your cutie into  I used several
little velcro strips to close the bodice then just sewed the faux
buttons onto the top ;) Saves you time getting your princess in and
out with the added bonus of not having to make a zillion button holes
woo hoo! (of course you can put the real buttons in if you like).
_MG_2373_3476proof
I just love the sea of ruffles everywhere and I must say I am really
proud of how well made this dress it. It took me a LONG time to create
and get the pattern right but it was worth it!

_MG_2338_3443proof

The pattern and tutorial will be available at this weekend so you
can take your own sewing vaca to a suburb in sunny California :) If
you have a moment hop on over and vote for it on Project Run and Play
(make sure to cast a vote not just leave a comment, not that we don’t
LOVE comments). I am super nervous about this week. Mainly because I
am really excited about next weeks theme and am just crossing my
fingers at this point that I squeak through :)

San Marino Dress for Project Run and Play

This weeks challenge over at Project Run and Play was to find an adult
outfit and create it for children. I took this to mean we were
supposed to be inspired by an adult outfit and “minify” it for our
munchkins… I am over the top nervous that I interpreted this wrong
but whatcha gunna do right? Anyhow, I have been coveting Shabby Apples San Gabriel dress for
over a year.

Every time there is a sale I pop it in my cart and then after an hour
of browsing other sites I force myself to close the browser and walk
away. I thought this would be a perfect opportunity to try it out on a
less intimidating scale. So, I can up with the San Marino (a small
suburb of San Gabriel in CA).

_MG_2355_3459

I love how it turned out. Although when I make an adult version I will
tone down the ruffle a tad to be more like the original. But my
gorgeous little model loves over the top ruffles so I had to deliver.

Untitled-1

In an effort to make it more child friendly, instead of a ton of
buttons you have to wrangle your cutie into  I used several
little velcro strips to close the bodice then just sewed the faux
buttons onto the top ;) Saves you time getting your princess in and
out with the added bonus of not having to make a zillion button holes
woo hoo! (of course you can put the real buttons in if you like).
_MG_2373_3476proof
I just love the sea of ruffles everywhere and I must say I am really
proud of how well made this dress it. It took me a LONG time to create
and get the pattern right but it was worth it!

_MG_2338_3443proof

The pattern and tutorial will be available at this weekend so you
can take your own sewing vaca to a suburb in sunny California :) If
you have a moment hop on over and vote for it on Project Run and Play
(make sure to cast a vote not just leave a comment, not that we don’t
LOVE comments). I am super nervous about this week. Mainly because I
am really excited about next weeks theme and am just crossing my
fingers at this point that I squeak through :)