Dog coat from Sew Everything Workshop

Yay being nice and warm!
Yay being nice and warm!

My poor dog has very sparse, short hair and next to no body fat.  We don’t live in a very cold climate, but she definitely needs something to keep her warm on cold morning walks.  But, in my area, stores only stock clothes for toy breeds. Time to break out the sewing machine and make my dog a coat!

P1020506
Yes, she’s a chewer and has already chewed the side. Sock donations gladly accepted, thank you.

Sew Everything Workshop has instructions  for a self-drafted “Canine Couture Coat”.  The pattern is very simple and is based on your dog’s measurements, plus added ease.  The most difficult part was deciding on the dimensions for the chest and neck area- I went with wide and shallow, since this seemed to fit her best based on her muslins. My dog is very deep-chested, so I placed the belt a bit higher than the middle so that it would go around the thickest part of her body, not her skinny belly.

The pattern features decorative buttons at the chest and side.  Cute!  I used silver metal ones.  I used my French curve to round the ends of the jacket instead of making them rectangular.

 

OK, I forgot to buy grey thread.  Green is still cute!
OK, I forgot to buy grey thread. Green is still cute!

The coat I made is fastened with hooks and eyes because I was worried about my dog undoing the fastenings; you could also use snaps or Velcro.  I plan to use  Velcro next time.

I made one major change to the pattern; Diane Rupp drafted the pattern with a two-piece belt that meets underneath the dog’s body in the middle of her belly.  This seemed like too much trouble to me, so I just made a one-piece belt that attaches to the side of the coat instead.  Much easier to get on and off the dog!

This pattern is great- simple and easy.  I like my single-piece belt idea, but don’t have any other complaints, As long as you make a muslin or two to tweak the pattern so that it fits your dog properly, it shouldn’t be too hard to make a good dog coat.

 

Colette Sorbetto Top: Variations

My latest project has been my “real” versions of the Colette Sorbetto Top. My Sorbetto Muslin was good practice for sewing this blouse. I am so happy I made this free download sewing pattern! The Sorbetto top is a cute (and easy!) vintage style blouse. As a beginning sewer, the Sorbetto Top is fun to sew because it was a successful project that also taught me some new sewing skills. Plus its basic design is sort of a blank slate so you can customize the top with fun variations for different looks and styles.

Colette Sorbetto Variation with Bias Tape on the Pleat
Colette Sorbetto Variation with Bias Tape on the Pleat. Sort of like piping?

I think that the Sorbetto top is my first actually wearable, non-embarrassing garment sewing project. I even customized the top with my own variations: one version has buttons and my other version has bias tape on the box pleat. My second version also has the armhole bias tape hidden inside of the blouse, since I didn’t want the top to be too busy. Both tops were made from lightweight cotton lawn or voile for a nice drape.

Colette Sorbetto Top in Grey Swiss Dot with Buttons
Colette Sorbetto Top in Grey Swiss Dot with Buttons
Colette Sorbetto Alternate Version: Bias Tape
Colette Sorbetto Alternate Version: Bias Tape (piping?)

This was also my first time successfully sewing buttons on anything. It was actually really easy using the zig-zag stitch setting and my satin sewing foot. I am definitely not afraid of sewing on buttons anymore. Button holes are a different matter…

Buttons Sewn on to the Colette Sorbetto Top
Variation of the Colette Sorbetto Top: Buttons!

I made my own bias tape with my new bias tape maker to sew on the button Sorbetto top because I wanted a clean, un-fussy look. I used the tutorial on Coletterie to make the custom bias tape, it it worked great! However, I did have a problem with the fabric shifting as I was trying to cut it, leading to sloppy strips of fabric. I solved this problem by making spray stabilizer using Sulky Solvy Water Soluble Stabilizer Roll. The solvy spray really helped and I am glad I have it on hand now.

I even serged the inside seams for a clean and durable finish. I still have a lot to learn about serging though. The serger is so much faster than overcasting the edge! But fiddling with the tensions is annoying… I need to finish my Online Beginner Serging Class! After all, I love my exposed zipper bag!

Changes and alterations I made to the Colette Sorbetto Top:

  • I added two inches at the waist to lengthen the top.
  • I used hem tape at the bottom of the top, which also helped to lengthen the top.
  • One Sorbetto top had the bias tape for the arm holes on the inside, not showing on the outside.
  • My Sorbetto Top Variations were adding buttons and adding bias tape on the box pleat as a sort of piping detail.
  • Next time I will consider moving the bust dart down 1 inch as that may make for a better fit, according to pattern review.
  • I serged the inside seams for a clean finish.
Colette Sorbetto Vintage Style Blouse Sewing Pattern.
Colette Sorbetto Vintage Style Blouse Sewing Pattern with My Variations: Buttons and bias tape sort of piping.
colette sorbetto free sewing pattern download piping detail
I used Bias tape as an accent detail on the Colette Sorbetto Top center pleat

Fabric Dying: Over-dying a Shirt to Change the Color

Recently I ordered a shirt online on Zulily.com. I was rushed with the limited time offer of a flash sale, and I didn’t fully think through my purchase. Ugh great deals online are so tempting! Thus, when my order arrived reality hit me, and I knew that the light brown shirt I ordered with entirely the wrong color for my complexion. There was no way I could wear a light brown shirt! But I liked the fit and wanted to keep the shirt…

I decided to try to dye the shirt– any color except brown would do. An easy hot water wash with some Rit Dye in ‘Scarlet’ later, I have a cute red shirt! This shirt is embellished and actually supposed to be hand wash only. I disregarded the washing instructions because I can’t spend half an hour or more stirring a pot to do a stove top dye. I only lost one bead in the washer, and I can sew that back on.

Custom dyed fabric shirt
Custom over dyed fabric shirt

This was my first time dying fabric. I have a front load washer, and I am happy to say that using the detergent dispenser and a hot water bleach wash after dying the shirt worked just fine. No lasting washer damage! I guess this whole process is technically over dying, since I was dying over a color.

I would love to dye a shirt to create a cute custom dip-dyed ombre effect, just like Wit and Whistle did. Adorable! I guess Procion MX dye is the dye to use for that because its good quality. It is supposed to fix more readily to the fabric so you have less risk of the dye running when you wash it. Maybe someday!

DIY Custom Marimekko Slipcover for Cheap!

Well Baby M is 10 months old, and my furniture is suffering at his sticky little hands. Ever try telling a baby not to drool all over the couch? It does no good. Since the fabric bench in his little play area was rapidly getting covered in slobber and banana mush, I decided I had to act fast and get a slipcover to protect it. I could not find a ready made slipcover to fit the bench, so I wanted to sew a slipcover to cover it. I went to the local Crate and Barrel Outlet to get affordable Marimekko fabric. At four dollars a yard, the outlet Marimekko fabric is affordable. The selection is not fantastic, as there are no smaller-scale and multi-colored prints available. I settled on a lime green on lime green circle print, Marimekko “kivet” fabric, to sew my custom slipcover.

Marimekko Kivet Green Fabric
Marimekko Kivet Fabric in Green. The right side is bright and the wrong side is muted.

The process of sewing my custom couch slipcover went well, considering that I have no real idea how to sew a slipcover. My slipcover design is meant to just drape over the couch and come off very easily for frequent washing (remember I am dealing with a messy baby here).

Marimekko Couch Slipcover DIY
Custom Marimekko Slipcover

I followed the basic slipcover tutorial instructions on honeybearlane: drape your fabric pieces on the couch inside-out and pin in place to get the right shape and fit. I didn’t sew any cushion covers or anything complicated like that: its just some Marimekko fabric in the shape of a couch. Next time I make a slipcover, I may use this helpful slipcover tutorial on Sew Mama Sew.

I did not sew down the top of the main couch cushion, so the slipcover has more than enough give to easily come on and off. After staring at my lime green fabric for a while I got sick of looking at it and began to hate it. I sewed the slipcover wrong side out, for a muted lime green pastel effect. To counter the baby drool problem, I added a layer of waterproof PUL fabric behind the slip cover.

DIY Slipcover and Bolster Pillows
DIY Slipcover and Bolster Pillows with Marimekko Kivet Fabric from Crate and Barrel Outlet

To complete the slipcover project, I made matching bolster pillow covers. I used the bolster pillow tutorial on Pretty Prudent, minus the piping detail. Also, I improvised an envelope pillow opening since there is no way I am going to hand sew the cover on. My first pillow is pretty sloppy to be honest. But I learned from my mistakes and the second pillow turned out better. Next time I make a bolster pillow I will probably shorten the length of the main pillow fabric to make a tighter fitting envelope pillow cover.

Megan Nielsen Ruched Maternity T-Shirt Sewing Pattern

megan nielsen maternity t shirt
Megan Nielsen Maternity T-Shirt

Well now that I am 40 weeks pregnant I am FINALLY getting around to sewing the Megan Neilsen Ruched Maternity T-Shirt pattern! After all, the pattern package says it is great for post maternity too, so why not? For this maternity top I used the leftover turquoise cotton jersey fabric from one of my Vogue 8390 wrap shirts.

This maternity top sewing pattern is simple, with only three pattern pieces and four total pieces of fabric to sew together. Megan Nielsen sewing patterns are printed on nice thick paper, so no messing around with annoyingly fragile tissue paper. My swollen and clumsy hands can’t handle tissue paper right now, so this is great. I used a walking foot and a stretch stitch.

Simply put, this pattern was great! I would recommend it even for beginners. Of course its a maternity t-shirt pattern, so you will want a fabric with stretch (like jersey). If you are okay sewing with jersey, then I think you should try out this pattern!

Megan Nielsen Maternity Shirt
Megan Nielsen Maternity Shirt

There is one change I would make to this sewing pattern. I wish there were some notches or markings on the arm holesfor the sleeves. Even though you are supposed to ease in the sleeves, there is no guidance on the pattern for doing so. Now I admit I have hardly ever sewn sleeves, so maybe this is just the norm and I am in the wrong. Still, if I had my way the armscye and sleeve would match up more easily. I got around this by ironing the sleeve in half (before sewing them to the shirt) so I would have a nice crisp line to match up to the shoulder seam to pin in place. I then stretched out each half of the armscye to the point where it matched the sleeve edge and started pinning like crazy so I could sew it in place.

This shirt was pretty fast and easy to sew. And it nailed one crucial point, being long enough to cover the bottom of a belly bump. I don’t know why some of my professionally made store bought materntiy shirts are so short that they expose my stomach. Listen up designers, maternity shirts need to be wider AND longer unless you are trying to bring back belly shirts. Since I am happy with it, I am (maybe) going to make another version. I would love to have a longer, tunic length maternity shirt! The rouching will make it more flattering for the awkward postpartum period I think. Plus since this pattern was expensive at $18 PLUS shipping from freaking AUSTRALIA, I want to feel like I got my money’s worth. Still, I would definitely buy this pattern again

sewing maternity t-shirt
40 Weeks pregnant! Megan Nielsen Sewing Patterns Maternity T-Shirt
Maternity T-Shirt Back View
Maternity T-Shirt Back View

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I found a few verisons online that I loved. Girls in the Garden made a cute missioni-esque shirt. Maybe I will get the courage to try a print someday! Cotton and Curls sewed a lovely floral print shirt. And Mad Mimsewed a cute turquoise print version.

My Problem: Wavy Seams on Knits/Jersey Fabric

wavy puckered knit fabric
Sleeves are wavy because I stretched out the fabric as I was sewing.

I don’t know why, but the hems on my sleeves and the bottom of the shirt are wavy. Obviously, I want the hems to lie flat so the shirt looks less homemade. I used a stretch stitch and walking foot. I am not sure what causes the puckering on the hems. I did iron the neckline flat before sewing, but not the arms or waist hems. I THINK that I stretched out the fabric as it was being sewn, which was a mistake? So next time I will try a different approach, perhaps:

  • Starch and iron, a la Fishsticks and Fries?
  • Be sure NOT to stretch out fabric as it is being fed through the machine? I need to make sure I am not stretching knit fabric, according to the great guide on how to sew knit fabrics on Prudent Baby
  • Maybe Serge??
  • Sewing Machine Tuneup for Tension adjustment?