Sew Ready to Play

Froo & Boo: Sew Ready to Play
Today, I’m guest posting at Louise’s blog, I’m Feeling Crafty. She has organized a series dedicated to sewing projects inspired by your favourite game. Froo & Boo aren’t into board games yet, preferring to make up their own games instead. To see what I created for the Sew Ready to Play series, please head over to I’m Feeling Crafty!

p.s. In case you were wondering, this is how Froo’s Build-A-Bear birthday cake turned out yesterday!
Froo's Build-A-Bear Birthday Cake Froo's Build-A-Bear Birthday Cake Froo's Build-A-Bear Birthday Cake
Thanks for visiting!

Tutorial: Adding piping to a skirt hem

Tutorial: Adding Piping to a Skirt Hem
Froo had a cute dress from Target with a piped hem. The finishing is horrendous, but I guess that’s the way it goes with store-bought clothing on the cheap. When I made Froo a skirt awhile back, I decided to write up a tutorial on how to add piping to a skirt hem, that is completely encased. I tend to put piping on just about everything, since it’s such a great way to add a pop of contrast and create dramatic lines.

I used the free Lazy Days Skirt pattern by Oliver + S because it is oh-so-simple (a 1-piece skirt!) and the hem is completely straight. If you are going to add piping to a skirt with a curved hem, you will need to modify the tutorial by creating a curved bottom hem (at Step 6).

Step 1
Cut your skirt pattern. For my almost 6-year old Froo, I cut a 17″ skirt. Cut another length of fabric 3″ wide. This will become the bottom hem.
Tutorial: Adding Piping to a Skirt Hem
Step 2
Following the pattern instructions, sew up the skirt to make a tube. Line the edge of the piping to the front edge of the skirt. Using a zipper foot, sew the piping onto the skirt. Position your needle to sew as close to the cording as possible–I sew directly on top of the stitching on the piping. Start sewing 2″ from the back seam and finish sewing 2″ to the back seam. Leave a tail on each end that extends 1-2″ beyond the back seam.
Tutorial: Adding Piping to a Skirt Hem
Step 3
To ensure you get a nice finish on your piping, follow the next set of instructions. Sophie, from the blog C’est la vie, has an excellent tutorial on adding piping with clear photos on finishing piping ends.
Tutorial: Adding Piping to a Skirt Hem
Step 4
Pin or clip the piping into place. Line up the piping fold with the back seam. Finish sewing the piping to the edge of the skirt hem.
Tutorial: Adding Piping to a Skirt Hem
Step 5
Sew the bottom hem into a tube with the same seam allowance as the skirt tube. Iron seams open. With right sides together, pin or clip the bottom hem to the skirt, sandwiching the piping in between. Match up the back seams.
Tutorial: Adding Piping to a Skirt Hem
Step 6
Using the original stitching as a guide, sew 1/16″ (or super close) to the left side of the seam. This ensures that any thread that is sewn on the piping will not show through to the other side.
Tutorial: Adding Piping to a Skirt Hem
Step 7
Fold and iron bottom hem 1″. Then iron entire bottom hem up so that the piping is at the bottom.
Tutorial: Adding Piping to a Skirt Hem
Step 8
Replace the zipper foot with the regular foot and topstitch the hem in place. At this point, you will want to match your thread colour, since it will show on the front of the skirt.
Tutorial: Adding Piping to a Skirt Hem
Step 9
Finish the waistband of the skirt. That’s pretty much it! Iron your skirt, or don’t (I didn’t!). It’s up to you, really. I’ve found that with piping and an additional bottom hem, there’s enough weight to the hem that it doesn’t wrinkle as much.
Tutorial: Adding Piping to a Skirt Hem
I guess I should have ironed. Oops.
Tutorial: Adding Piping to a Skirt Hem
Step 10
Take photos of your model wearing the skirt, if she’s willing. I love that the piping on the hem is completely encased–you can see a peek of the inside of Froo’s skirt and it still looks great.
Tutorial: Adding Piping to a Skirt Hem
Tutorial: Adding Piping to a Skirt Hem
About the fabric: it’s definitely a favourite–both Froo & Boo love to point out different sea creatures (Boo is obsessed with the Octonauts) and it just feels happy. I pinned it a couple of years ago–it’s called Kelp Forest by Kokka, but I’m pretty sure it’s nowhere to be found on the Internet. Sorry to have kept the good stuff hidden, but I thought you’d like to know. I’m always so curious when I see awesome fabric on a sewing blog and the fabric is unidentified, but anyhoo…

Happy sewing!
Tutorial: Adding Piping to a Skirt Hem

Round 1: An A-line Skirt

The Super Online Sewing Match After the initial shock and elation of being selected as a contestant for the Super Online Sewing Match, a wave of fear overcame me. The challenge: to draft my own A-line skirt!

I could feel my fear growing exponentially as I considered my challenge. Here’s a step-by-step progression of what went through my mind:

Step 1. Take true & proper measurements. (Oi!)
Step 2. Transfer those measurements onto paper. (Ack!)
Step 3. Make a muslin and adjust the fit. (Eek!)
Step 4. Choose fabric. (Uh oh… this could take forever!)
Step 5. Design finishing touches. (In how many days? Yikes!)

Luckily, the Craftsy video course was extremely fun, informative and dispelled most of my fears (I’m still hung up on Step 1). Deborah Moebes is a great teacher and has the ability to tie in all of your existing sewing skills, including the new ones she teaches–creating a seamless feel to the course. I found an iPad app for it, which made it so much easier to bring to my makeshift cutting table and back to my sewing machine.
Round 1: The Super Online Sewing Match
Anyhoo, my first ever, custom-fit, self-drafted A-line skirt pattern! The piece on the right is a band that follows the curve of the hem to create a contrast hem.
Round 1: The Super Online Sewing Match
This was also my first time making a muslin. I can see the benefits of making one now. I was able to adjust the fit by: omitting front darts, while lengthening the back darts and practicing all of the intricate parts of the invisible zipper, bias tape waistband and pocket placement.
Round 1: The Super Online Sewing Match
I knew I wanted pockets on my skirt. I have a short torso, with what I call a “wrap-around waist” (one that extends into my back), so I wanted a large pair of pockets to draw attention away from my waist. I based the pockets from a Vogue pattern that I had (V8552) and attached them to my muslin. Then I noticed a major design flaw: the zipper opens up into the left pocket.
Round 1: The Super Online Sewing Match
I then drafted a new back pattern piece. It includes a 1/2″ seam allowance added to the fold line, that is used to cut 2 back pieces, instead of one. For my final skirt, the zipper is installed on the back and there is a seam that goes all the way down the centre of the back.

Ta da! This is my made-for-me-by-me skirt:
Round 1: The Super Online Sewing Match
This is the back of the skirt with the invisible zipper down the centre seam, I just noticed loose threads stuck to the bottom of the right pocket! Oops.
Round 1: The Super Online Sewing Match
The bias tape for the waistband is made from the same fabric as the contrast pockets and hem. I absolutely LOVE this print! I added a FROO & BOO fabric tag for a personalized touch:
Round 1: The Super Online Sewing Match
The side seams were finished with my serger and the contrast bottom hem is fully encased, so you can’t see any seams. This was a huge feat for me. When I wasn’t sewing, I was trying to figure out how to construct the hem and after a couple of modifications, I got it right!
Round 1: The Super Online Sewing Match
Round 1: The Super Online Sewing Match
By chance, the day before I became a contestant, I went to The Intrepid Thread for the first time. I picked up 3.75 yards of Pure Elements, by Art Gallery Fabrics, in Nocturnal (I cleared the shelf, still loving navy blue) and a couple of prints from the Indian Summer collection by Sarah Watson. These fabrics are quilting fabric, but the quality is oh-so-much better. They feel lighter and smoother, with more drape and the slightest amount of sheen. I only bought half a yard of Forest Trail in Mountain–it was intended as shorts for Boo. I couldn’t give up on the design in my head, so I asked the hubs to pick up another yard for me on the way home from work. He assured me that it was very much out of the way, but he went anyways. Love him.

Finally, a couple of photos of me in my new skirt. The outdoor photos were taken by Froo. I chose to wear a billowy summer top to hide the squishy bits, tucked in with a belt, to give semblance that there’s a waist hiding in there somewhere. Even though the pockets flare out, I feel that the lines of the pockets help to elongate my figure, creating a more narrow effect. Score!
Round 1: The Super Online Sewing Match
Round 1: The Super Online Sewing Match
A couple of bracelets that I made years ago to bring out the colours in the contrasting fabric. Aqua, coral and white, accenting navy blue–this is my favourite colour combination of all time, especially for summer.
Round 1: The Super Online Sewing Match
It was super bright out, so I wanted to see if the colours looked more “true” indoors, without all the highlights and shadows:
Round 1: The Super Online Sewing Match
Round 1: The Super Online Sewing Match
I think I would wear this skirt more as part of a casual outfit–with an aqua tee and a pair of TOMS. Boo is starting to become a regular photo bomber on my blog. He’s wearing the art smock that I made for him.
Round 1: The Super Online Sewing Match
Round 1: The Super Online Sewing Match
This is why I LOVE to sew: the new skills that I’ve learned over the past couple of days transformed a piece of Swedish tracing paper into a design of my own! The possibilities are endless when it comes to fabric choices, styles and design elements. It could be overwhelming, believe me, I spent a great deal of time scouring Pinterest, but once I sat down to consider a skirt I would actually wear, I could visualize it clearly in my mind. The need to create it took over from there, totally squashing my fears.

Round 1 of the Super Online Sewing Match is done–thanks for stopping by! A huge thanks also to Sew Mama Sew for hosting this amazing sewing match! This week has been a blast.

A cruise-worthy skirt

The Froo & Boo family is going on a Caribbean cruise! We will be celebrating a very special birthday, together with the hubs’ family.
Cruise-worthy skirt
I have been holding onto this fabric for way too long, hoping that it would magically turn into an amazing dress. But I’ve learned that the more you wait, the more things change, then eventually, you change your mind altogether. So now that my mind’s been changed, I need to act on it before it changes again.

Even though I was really excited to have a dress covered with anchors, I decided that the fabric would work better as a skirt. I first found this skirt here and knew I had to make one. Then I found Noodlehead’s skirt sew-along with step-by-step photos so I had no excuses! I got the pattern (Simplicity 2226) on sale for $1.99 at Fabricland a couple of years ago. I am really trying to get all of the projects I’ve planned completed at the beginning of this year, before I start new ones.

I love how it turned out! I used the fabric before in my fabric covered button magnets. It’s from Dear Stella Anchors Away–perfect for a cruise!
Cruise-worthy skirt
I also added a sash in the contrasting white/blue anchors print fabric.
Cruise-worthy skirt Cruise-worthy skirt
I made it in size 8 and when I tried it on, I could hardly breathe with the zipper fully closed. That was on February 5. The following day, I started the 30 Day Shred. I set my iPhone alarm every night and since then, I’ve only missed a couple of days. At first, I thought I was going to die. I was also doing yoga once a week, so I was starting to feel pretty good. Here’s the strange thing: after 3 weeks, I haven’t lost any weight. In fact, I think I’ve gained several pounds. Whaaaat?? I feel stronger and I’m eating healthy meals–the only possible explanation is that the squishy stuff surrounding my mid-section is utterly unimpressed with my efforts. So I’ve resorted to wearing Spanx. How embarrassing:
Cruise-worthy skirt
I’m trying to figure out which pairs of shoes are essential to pack. I’m really digging the pink suede oxfords I recently bought at Nordstrom–I try to wear them with everything.
Cruise-worthy skirt
There are a couple other handmade garments that I am packing for the cruise:
Clothing for the cruise
1. A dress (Simplicity 2584, now out-of-print) I made years ago, shortly after Froo was born. I thought sizing up would do the trick, but it was the first garment I had sewn for myself in a really long time and I didn’t prewash my cotton. I was horrified when I couldn’t zip it up from its lowest point. It finally fits! I think it’ll look good at the beach over a bathing suit. This fabric was also used for Froo’s birthday quiet book. After much more experience with buying fabric, I’ve learned that there is a huge variation in quality, even with quilting fabric. This one is covered with a tiny white floral print and the quality is sub-par with stiff cotton.
Cynthia Rowley - Simplicity 2584
2. A Shearwater Kaftan shirt. I feel a little embarrassed that I copied the look on the pattern cover by using the exact same Nani Iro fabric in double-gauze, but I love this shirt. I wore it on the cruise we went on last winter. I also cut the neck opening on the back of the shirt by mistake, so I had to stitch it together with the bias-binding. Oops. I can’t believe how much Froo has grown!
Shearwater Kaftan
I also like this one tucked into my jeans with a fun belt:
Shearwater Kaftan
3. A Wiksten tank. I’m not sure about using quilting fabric for this top–it would work much better with a lightweight fabric, such as cotton voile or double-gauze. Since there are no darts at the bust, the fabric doesn’t drape very well and hangs awkwardly. I was thinking of making it again while slimming down the sides, but it’s super comfortable and hides the squishy bits just fine. The fabric is from the Melrose collection by Red Rooster. This one is really soft and the print quality is excellent.
Wiksten tank
4. Finally, my favourite Wiksten tova, blogged here. This photo was taken last November when we stopped at Harris Ranch for lunch on our way down to Disneyland. Nani Iro double-gauze is becoming my favourite fabric when it comes to sewing for myself.
Wiksten Tova
I’m really excited about spending time with my family and the hubs’ family on our cruise this year. We had so much fun last year, that we just had to book it again this year. Little Boo has probably transformed the most:
Boo on a cruise
He’s still full of trouble, that one. Last night, I had taken off the sewing machine foot to stitch a button and left the foot beside the machine. This morning, Boo ran to me and handed me the foot and said, “Uh oh, broken. Sorry.” He had the guiltiest look on his face. Even though he didn’t break it, I put him in the timeout corner, where Froo was already serving time. I could hear them giggling with each other, but let them hang out there for awhile before walking towards them. They both went really quiet. I sat across from them and the first person to make eye-contact and break the silence was Froo, with, “Sorry mommy.” Then Boo chimes in, “So-zee! Mommy!” There were stern reminders, more apologies, lots of hugs and kisses–but inside, I wanted to laugh at my darling poo-heads. They crack me up.
Froo & Boo in timeout