Monday, June 18, 2012

Toddler Flared T-Shirt

As the weather begins to heat up I've been searching for more t-shirts for my little girl.  As I open her drawers, I find there aren't that many in there!  So in the true DIY attitude I decided to make some instead of buy them!

I took one of her basic shirts and set to work making a pattern from it.  I don't have pattern paper so I used old wrapping paper.  It works great except for the fact it keeps wanting to roll up!

I traced the front, back and sleeve of the shirt onto the paper the best I could and added a quarter inch seam allowance.

My mom's been cleaning out her fabric stash, and lots of it is finding it's way to my house.  I picked out some of the cute cotton she brought over and started tracing and cutting away.

As I started to sew the bodice together I was encouraged and excited.  Then I put it over my little ones head to test it.   Uh-oh.  It went on okay, but it was a stinker to get off of her!  The material I chose had no stretch to it.  And as many of you know, that's a VERY undesirable trait for a toddler shirt.  Especially for my little girl.  She has a big head!  Seriously!!  We're talking in the 90th percentile!

You can see some of that stretchy material on the side in this photo.

So after thinking about the problem for a day or so, and talking to my mom about it I came up with a solution.  My mom had also brought me some white gathered elastic material that's meant to be used at the top of skirts.  Perfect!  I had to sew two strips together to make it long enough, but it worked great.  I added it to each side seam and it gave the shirt just the right amount of stretchiness so that it easily goes on and off.

I made my own bias tape from the same material to go around the neck.  I know I could have used some white bias tape, but I liked the matching look better.  I attached a button on one side, then rolled up a small piece of fabric to create the loop that attaches to the button.  A simple way to create a clasp for a shirt.

And now for the fun part.  You know, the part where I try to get a picture of the two year old wearing the shirt.  Ya right!  Here were some of the first attempts....

And finally the money shot.  Phew!

I haven't had a chance to make another one yet, but if I do maybe I'll try to come up with a tutorial...

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Zig Zag Quilt

PhotobucketSeven Alive

Finally a finished project!!  It feels like it's been forever!  It's a pretty dang cute one too, if I might say so.

The pattern is from Cluck Cluck Sew.  Love that site.  And I decided to go with the scrappy look.  I'm tempted to make me one of these with just polka dot patterns...

The little one wanted to get in on the action.
This is a fairly simple pattern to put together, and it's a great pay off.  I decided to quilt five lines in the white, following the zig zag pattern.  It made for a cute back!!  It was also pretty quick to quilt.  Of course all of the lines aren't perfectly straight, but you'd have to stare close to see that.  So, stop staring!!

I wanted this to be extra cozy as it's going to a little one so I backed it with flannel.  So snuggly!

Remember the start of this one.  This picture is a pile of the materials I started with.  I was playing with different patterns, hues, etc.  This one is going to a family who aren't finding out the gender of their baby so I to steer clear of flower patterns and anything too girlie. 

Gotta add my label!!

It will be hard to say good bye to this one, but hopefully they'll cherish is and their little babe will get plenty of play time on it!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Elmo Cake - Tutorial

My little one just turned two yesterday. Two!!  I can't believe it!

I have a little cake book with instructions on how to make different shaped cakes.  I picked two out I thought she's like and asked my husband which one he thought would be best.  He said, "Elmo."  That wasn't one of the options.  :)  But he was right.  She would really like an Elmo cake.  Elmo's World is her favorite part of Sesame Street.

So I looked online for ideas of how to make an Elmo cake.  Know what I found?  That most people bought and Elmo shaped cake pan.  I was NOT about to by a special cake pan for one cake.  So here's what I did.  Sorry, I don't have many pictures.  I didn't think to take them as I was making it.  I'm not an expert on cake making; this is only the second shaped cake I made but I'm happy to share what I did.

I cooked a 8" round cake, and let it cool over night.  The next morning I took a long serrated knife (I used my long bread knife) and cut off the rounded top and made it flat.  Next I put it in the freezer for about 45 minutes.  This helps firm up the cake for the shaping process.

You can see some of the holes from the toothpicks in this picture.

I printed out a face picture of Elmo just a little smaller than the cake, and cut it out.  Then I placed it over the cake and put toothpicks in some of the outlines of the eyes, nose and mouth.  This served two purposes.  It held the picture in place, and started to make an outline of those features.

Then I used a serrated knife (this time I used a steak knife) to cut around the shape to make the basic outline.  I cut some of the jags of the fur, but found as I was frosting it this wasn't necessary.  The frosting helped make the appearance of fur, so I could have just cut the bottom outline rounded, not jagged.

In this picture you can see some of the scored outlines I made for his facial features.

Next I took the paper off by sliding it over the toothpicks and leaving them in place.  I then used my knife to score the outline of his features.  They weren't all visible,  but it helped.

I then made my buttercream frosting and but a several spoonfuls in a separate bowl.  I thinned this portion out a little more with milk for a base frosting.

A word on base frosting.  I'd never used a base frosting before, but decided to give it a try.  The idea is you put a thin layer of frosting on before the decorating layer.  It is supposed to help hold in the crumbs so they do not show through your decorated layer.  I wasn't sure if it worked until I tried doing my decorating frosting on some of the edges that I missed with base frosting.  It DEFINITELY made a huge difference.  The areas I missed with the base frosting were crumbling and falling apart.  Also, my little cake book has a separate recipe for base frosting, but I didn't want to make two kinds of frosting so I just thinned out some of my buttercream and it worked okay.  {Call me lazy.}

Let the base frosting dry for 20 or more minutes.  During this time I started to make some of my colored frosting.  For the each color I put the amount I would need (guesstimated) in a separate bowl to mix it.

For orange I used liquid food coloring: one part red, three parts yellow.

For black I bought a tube of decorating black.  I cheated.  :)

For red I bought some red food coloring paste.  I've tried the liquid and gels before and they just create a dark pink no matter how much I put in.  With the paste I was actually able to get a nice red.  It did take quite a bit though.  It helped that I was only doing a small amount rather than the whole batch of frosting.

Because I only put a thin layer of base frosting on I was able to still see a lot of my scored outlines of his features.  The rest I was able to fill in by looking at the picture.

First I frosted the orange nose, then the white eyes.  When doing this parts I started by putting the majority of the frosting in the center of the area and carefully spreading it to the edges.

This shows the base frosting with just the nose with colored frosting.
I used my black tube to do the pupils.  I only made the outline and it came out thick enough that I was able to carefully spread the line inward to fill in the circle.

Next I made the outline of the mouth, but I suggest NOT DOING THIS YET!  I wish I would have frosted the whole area below the nose and eyes red and then frost the mouth on top of it.  The way I did it I kept getting black frosting smeared in my red.

When spreading the red frosting, make sure it's a little thicker.  This allows you to put it on textured so that it looks like fur.  It's nice that you don't have to worry about putting it on smooth in this instance.

I filled in the mouth similar to how I filled in the pupils.  I made extra lines with the black tube inside of the mouth outline then carefully spread them around to fill it in.

Wahlah!  An Elmo Cake!