Thursday, May 24, 2012


TipNut is one of my favorite places to get patterns and tutorials.  I found this cute slipper pattern there just this past week and thought they would be perfect for Robbie's teacher for her "end of the year" gift.  I think they turned out really cute.  My dd burst out into laughter when she saw these.  She thought they looked like elf slippers. Not exactly the response I was going for.  Robbie's teacher loved them though, and that's what matters.  I think I will make these again, because they were super easy and quick to put together.  Guess who won't be getting a pair??

Here is a kind of side view.  It's kind of hard taking pictures of your own feet at different angles.

I'll add this to my list of teacher gifts.  I may even make a pair for myself.  I could even see these made with quilted material.  Although, I'm not certain how comfy that would be to stand on.......

Have a great Thursday.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Mary De Insert Tutorial - Part 3

This is the last installment of the Mary De smocked insert tutorial.  Woohoo!

In this series, we'll go through the steps of attaching the skirt to the insert.  Last post, we attached the yoke to the insert.  Normally, this would be a very short and sweet lesson.  However, because this fabric was much, much heavier than I would normally use, I had some issues with too much bulk.  So I'm going to show you how I solved that little problem.  I finally asked some wise women over at everythingsewing for some help.

Because I had bulk in the insert and added bulk in the skirt, I had to remove some of the bulk somewhere.  The advice given to me was to sew some darts in the top of the skirt, cut away the excess fabric, then run my gathering threads.  So let's begin there.

I marked my skirt in 3 different places and took a 3 inch dart in each.  I started at my center front of the skirt.  The blue mark is my center, and the 2 purple on either side will be my dart lines.

Fold the fabric at the blue line, right sides together, and match the purple marks.  Press the fold with an iron.  Then decide how far down you want your dart.  Mine is roughly 4 inches.  Then draw a line from your purple mark all the way down to the folded edge of the fabric where you want the dart to end as shown.

Now you'll want to find the center from that fold to the end of the fabric on each side as shown.

Mark a new center line.  Then mark lines on either side of it just like we did before.  This one only shows my center line.  We want 3 evenly space darts across the skirt.

Now fold on that center line just like before matching your side marks and press.  Then mark your dart line just like before.  This is a picture showing both dart marks. 

Repeat on the other side.  Sorry I didn't take a picture of all three.

Now you'll stitch along that dotted purple line to form your dart.  Remove it from the machine leaving long tails.  At the fold, tie off the top and bobbin thread to keep is from unraveling later.  Then cut very close to that stitch line and zigzag over it to keep it from fraying.  This picture shows the cut but I forgot to take a picture of the zigzag stitch.

Now press open your darts and you'll have this.

Now run your 2 lines of gathering threads and pull the skirt up to the width of the bottom of the insert.  Lay the insert face down on top of the skirt and pin in place.  I forgot to snap a pic of that, so here is one of it already stitched in place.

Take it to the machine and stitch in place along the stitch line we made yesterday on the ric rac.  Here is the pic from yesterday.

And here it is on the machine.  Sorry for the poor picture.  My camera doesn't like it when my sewing machine light is on.

Feel free to baste this stitch line in case you don't like it.  That's what I did.  Then I went back and shortened my stitch length and stitched over it again.  Open it up and press it down making sure not to flatten your pleats.  Again, never iron directly on the smocking.  Here it is.

The darts are barely visible and are mostly hidden in the gathers of the skirt.  This solution allowed me to remove excess fabric from the top of the skirt where it was problematic but leave the fullness in the bottom of the skirt.  It was a win - win.  I still have a few threads to remove since I ripped the the skirt out numerous times before I found the ultimate solution.

But there you have it.  Now you can finish construction of the dress as usual.

Happy Wednesday!


Monday, May 7, 2012

Mary De Tutorial - Part 2

I didn't think I'd ever get to part 2!  Whew!  The smocking took much longer than I had anticipated.  In hind sight, I should have waited until it was totally complete before doing the tutorial.  Lesson learned.

In part 2, I'll show you how I added rows to the smocking plate I used to get the number I needed, and I'll show you how I attached the insert to the yoke.

This is the original smocking plate that I bought just for this dress.  Unfortunately, I didn't pay attention to the Mary De pattern on the number of rows required for my size.  So I had to do some major alterations in the plate.  I had this plate on hand (scroll to baby bugs and butterflies) and thought some of these rows would do well on the dress, so I incorporated some of them.  Then Ann came out with a new plate, so I ordered that one too.

So here is the finished insert.

And a close up.

So the original plate had smaller strawberries which didn't look right with the size of this insert.  These larger strawberries look so much better, plus they took up 4 1/2 rows!  I also used the waves beneath the strawberries from this same plate.  The top waves with the red weaved through I used from the baby bugs and butterfly plate.  I had a lot of backsmocking to keep the insert nice and tight.  I matched the blue floss to the background color in the dress to pull it all together.

Okay, so that's how I increased my rows from 7 to 14.  Now let's go through how I attached it to my yoke.

First, decide exactly how much of your ric rac you want showing on the front of the dress.  I wanted a fairly good bit.  You'll want to run a basting stitch right down the ric rac where you want the yoke to line up.

In my case, I wanted a good bit to show, so I ran my stitch smack down the middle of the ric rac.  My 1/4" foot was perfect for this, since it just hit both edges of my ric rac, and that made it very easy to get an even stitch.  Go slow here, because you'll use this stitch line to attach your yoke, so it needs to be as straight as possible.  Here is my stitch line from the back.

Do the same for the other side of the insert as shown.  See that wasn't hard at all was it?  This terrified me the first time I did it.  But the basting stitch can be picked out easily if you mess up!  Guess how I know that?

Now grab your insert and put it face up in front of you.  Now grab your yoke and place it face down on top of your insert (right sides together) matching the edges and pin in place as shown.

Now take it to your machine and stitch it on the same basting stitch you just did.

Just be sure and not catch the top part of the yoke in the stitching, which almost happened here.  Luckily, I caught this before I ran it through the machine.  Guess how many times I've managed to do that!  You think a girl would learn.  Sheesh!

You can either run a zig zag stitch over the raw edges or use your serger.  I usually serge mine.  Flip it back over and press it.  Be careful not to press your pleats flat and never iron directly over your smocking.  It should look like this.

Now very carefully cut out your arm hole where marked.  And it will look like this.

The next installment will be attaching the skirt to the bottom of the insert.  Normally, I would just run some gathering stitches in the skirt and attach it just like we did the yoke.  BUT, this fabric is much, much thicker than I normally use, and there was entirely too much bulk in that seam.  So I'm still tossing around ideas to eliminate some of that bulk.  So stay tuned.

Let me know if I've confused you or didn't make something clear.