Monday, August 27, 2012

Peach Pie

There is no better dessert in my opinion than a homemade peach pie in August. Nothing.


N0tice I’m too lazy to actually “weave” the lattice. Guess what: it doesn’t affect the flavor a bit. I used butter for flavor and shortening for flakiness in the crust. Yup, two kinds of fat. Extra tasty.


If you make a mess in the kitchen your food will taste better. I’ve tested this theory. It’s true.


What a shocker—I used the America’s Test Kitchen recipe. Been using this recipe for years now.DSC_0720



Look how there are even more peaches in the background behind me? Those fulfilled their destiny as a peach crisp. Heaven.

New Look #6470

Argh, I have such mixed feelings about this pattern. On the one hand it, it is very cute and flattering—especially the flutter sleeves. On the other hand, it is has such narrow shoulders that you gotta wear an undershirt—unless you’re gonna wear a strapless bra and don’t mind showing everybody your chest when you even slightly bend over. I wasn’t interested in either so in the heat of August I had to wear another layer of clothing. Oh the blazing inferno.

DSC_0726 copy

This was my first attempt at a cowl neckline. I think that’s the correct term. Maybe I’ll try to alter it for a wider shoulder and higher neckline. Seriously—I measured the finished shoulder and it’s maybe 2”. Grrrrr. I'm not great at altering, especially with a style I’m new at, but we’ll see. Open to any pattern suggestions from my bloggy friends.

newlook 6470

I love this batik-print knit from Girl Charlee. After I made this blouse I quickly logged on and bought more before it would sell out. And it will sell out sadly.


Thursday, August 16, 2012

Shirred Cap Sleeve T-shirts

DSC_0678 copy

Have you seen the kids clothing over at Tea Clothing.? I purchased many of their t-shirts and dresses recently. And when one of them arrived I knew it would be super easy to knock-off and make loads for the girls. We have this exact blue top, seen below, ain’t it cute? Love their stuff and recommend them whether you sew or not.

tea cap sleeve top 

I traced the above  t-shirt, added a seam allowance, and have been making some cute Ts for the girls’ back-to-school wardrobe.


I think what makes this top is the shirred waist line. Five rows is all you need to give that cinched feminine look. Shirring is really easy. You just need to hand wind elastic onto your bobbin and sew rows across the shirt.  Follow this tutorial over at Ruffles & Stuff.


And of course, use clear elastic for a simple fold over neckline. Read this post for more about clear elastic.


On the above apple shirt I used a lengthened zig-zag for the neckline. On the bumble bee shirt below I used a special stitch for knits on my sewing machine.


DSC_0673 copy

So here’s how you make the shirt:

Step #1—Cut out a front and back for your shirt using this pattern, on the fold. The pattern I created is for big girls—mine are ages 8 and 12 but it shouldn’t be hard to shrink it down for little ones or trace an existing t-shirt that fits your girl. You’ll need to tape the three pages together on the dotted lines. The pattern on the right is full size and the pattern on the left shows how you’ll need to tape it together. The scanned pattern is off a little, as you can see in this ph0to, but I think you’ll be able to use it just fine by evening out the lines that didn’t scan.  It’s a knit t-shirt after all and not a fitted corset. I’ll teach you how to make a corset in another post. I’m kidding. Never. 


2—Sew the shirt together at just one of the side seams as seen below. I used my serger but you can also use a zig-zag stitch. I go back and forth between loving the serger and preferring my machine. Doesn’t matter—knits don’t ravel so a serger isn’t necessary. Just nice.


3—Mark just the top line for shirring using tailors chalk, a tracing wheel and tracing paper, or a washable fabric pen.


4—Sew five rows of shirring elastic, with elastic thread in the bobbin, using this tutorial over at Ruffles & Stuff.


5—This is how the shirt will look after you have done the shirring. Cute already!!


6—Now you need to reinforce your shoulders on the back piece (or front, doesn’t matter) with interfacing, as explained in this blog post.  Sew your shoulders seams together and then sew the other remaining side of the shirt, as seen below.

DSC_0689 copy

7—Finish the neckline by turning under 3/8” and sewing a zig-zag stitch all the while “sandwiching” clear elastic between the fabric. It was hard to photograph but maybe you can see the elastic below with the arrow pointing to it.

DSC_0693 copy

8—Finish the armholes and the bottom hem. I like to either use heavy duty spray starch to iron the hem in place before sewing or use steam-a-seam, as explained in this great blog post if your fabric is very flimsy, thin, or hard to manage, as when using lycra knits. All done!!!

This is how the neckline and shoulder seam looks from the inside.


Here’s the bottom hem done with a zig-zag:


Here it is on my cute daughter:

DSC_0695 copy

Here’s another version in hot pink—lengthened quite a bit to be worn as a dress, with leggings, or jeans.

DSC_0712 copy

DSC_0711 copy 

Fast and easy. I can make the top in about 30 minutes now.  I’m gonna make loads more as the first two months of school are still blazing hot. And once fall comes these will look great with a cardigan.



Knit fabrics used: apple print and the pink dot print are from Girl for the bumble bee print and the mint gingham.

Happy sewing,

cynthia logo

Monday, August 06, 2012

Chevron Knit Skirt

I am so grateful to the blogger who left a comment on one of my posts about the amazing knits at I’ve never seen a better selection of modern knits for the grown women like me as well as cute stuff for girls. Trendy stuff indeed.  I purchased several varieties and can’t wait to use them all up. Soon, very soon. Here’s my first project with this black/white knit.

DSC_0665 copy2

Just start with  any a-line elastic waist skirt pattern meant to be cut on the bias, like Simplicity 2186. I used a pattern older than mud from my stash—Butterick 5431. I guess technically it doesn't have to be a pattern specifically for bias cuts, but it helps because the 45 degree angle is already marked on the pattern piece.

butterick 5431

Most bias-cut skirt patterns give you the full piece for the front and a full piece for the back. (You can’t cut on the fold when cutting anything on the bias.) However, to make the chevron design in the front you will need to cut the pattern piece down the middle. Luckily, my pattern had an easy line down the center on which I cut. Then you need to cut out 4 identical pieces of your skirt on a perfect 45 degree angle. And I do mean identical. Everything has to match—all the stripes.

To make this easier I cut out my first piece with the tissue pattern, then flipped that cut piece facedown  to make a mirror image on the fabric, matching up the stripes again, as seen below. You might need to subtly manipulate (lightly stretch) the fabric to get it match up perfectly. Pin like crazy where you’ll be seaming the front sections. Cut out. Repeat this process for the back.


If you have a walking foot, now is the time to use it so that your perfectly matched and perfectly pinned stripes will sew perfectly.

chrevron skirt

I used a straight stitch, then went over that line on my serger. After you make your front and back sections, sew the sides, matching the stripes again, insert an elastic waistband and hem the skirt. I found this great tutorial on hemming knits. You use steam-a-seam to iron the hem in place and then sew the seam. What I love about this is that it gives a little bit of structure to the knit so that you don’t have any popped seams. I have no idea why sometimes knits will ‘skip’ a stitch when sewing. But the steam-a-seam helped to stabilize the seam. Sold on that technique.

Voila! 30 minutes of sewing, 30 minutes of cutting, and you have a trendy chevron skirt for $10. I really don’t know how can sell this knit for only $5/yd. Amazing. I am so happy to have been led to that website.

Thursday, August 02, 2012

New Look #6195

I’ve gotten a lot of mileage out of this pattern. I first used it back in 2008 for these two smocks.

And here are a few more favorites I’ve made in the last couple of weeks. Can you tell it’s back to school time? Been making loads o’ clothes for the girls. Only 20 days till school starts. Oh yea, I’m counting.

scribbled mum (4) copy2

I did version “B” this time with elastic at the neckline for the front and back. I prefer this version over all the others.

scribbled mum (2) copy

I love this black and white seersucker with the applique of my ‘Scribbled Mum’ flower.  I see these smocks all over the children’s clothing websites for loads of money. Mine cost $5 worth of fabric. Plus 45 minutes of sewing and embroidery, which really, my time is priceless. Worth millions. At least that’s what I tell my hubby and kids.

scribbled mum (2) scribbled mum (4) copy

DSC_0614 copy2

This turquoise polka dot version is darling as well, but my daughter wishes I had used the elastic at the neckline here as well. It’s kinda ‘loose’ on her.

DSC_0614 copy

6195new look

I think this pattern is out of print now but there are a thousand other smock patterns just like this one. So stylin, so easy. I even wrote a review of it YEARS ago on pattern review. Click here.

Look how much my girl has grown up? It makes me a wee bit sad how fast the time is going. She was just 7 years old in the below picture. Where does the time go?

6195new look


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...