Tuesday, April 17, 2012

one project at a time

Do you ever have so many things you want to make and do staring you in the face that you become almost paralyzed into doing none of them? I'm in that boat right now...so, so many awesome projects I've stumbled across around the web, so many little piles of supplies building up around the house, just waiting for me to find the time...there's the sewing pile, with pinned pattern pieces sticking out all willy-nilly, the knitting basket(s) with balls, skeins, patterns, and half-done projects languishing, and the cookbooks from the library stuffed with post-it notes to mark the recipes I want to try. Then of course the floors have dust bunnies, the laundry never stops, the ironing is building up and Hubs needs clothes for work, AJ is sick and needs constant nose-blowing assistance, our beloved speech therapist went and had her baby 3 weeks early so I'm scrambling to replace her, and my family somehow wants 3 meals a day (selfish!). I look at all that, and then I give up and flop in my comfy chair to browse the internet until bedtime. Pitiful!

It's just the usual stuff, the mommy stuff, the stuff we all deal with. It's challenging, it really is, and I wish we'd all acknowledge that more often. Today I was feeling pretty ace because I got the bedrooms straightened up, beds made/changed, clothes put away, rugs vacuumed...only to discover that while I was running the vacuum my son dragged furniture into a configuration that allowed him to scale the kitchen countertops and retrieve my glass pyrex measuring cups from the second highest shelf in the cupboard. Because he heard me mention making homemade granola bars today and he "just wanted to help." *sigh*

We did manage to make the granola bars. Only a little bit of the dry mixture ended up flung all over the kitchen...due to the aforementioned helper.

These are pretty good. I started with the recipe as written, subbing chocolate chips for raisins. I baked mine for only 25 minutes and could have even shortened that a bit (the recipe says 30-35). I used a dark pan and mine were not entirely even, particularly at the edges (again, I had "help") so the outside bars are a bit dark and crunchy. They do have a remarkably granola bar-like texture and they taste good.

Next time I will reduce the cinnamon (or skip it), and make some "grownup" bars with dried fruits and nuts. And probably some chocolate too, 'cause who am I kidding? Tiny chocolate chips are awesome. If I can perfect this I will switch to making my own all the time because even with the sugar and honey I bet they are better for us than the processed Quaker bars I buy by the truckload. Heck, they have wheat germ in them. Boom, healthy!

Ok, moving on, my sister asked me to take a bridesmaid dress she wore several years ago and re-make it into something for the bride's daughter. Should I admit that the daughter in question is 2 years old and my sis has been asking me to do this since the little girl was born? And that my sister has been asking me approximately every 6 months when I'm going to be able to get around to making the dress? Nah, I'm going to skip that part.

Anyway, I finally did it. The color of the dress defies description, so I was nervous about finding thread and a zipper to match. In some light it is yellowy, sometimes peach, sometimes pink. The underside of the dress fabric is actually hot pink. The lining is a pretty straight-up peach. My sister is very tall and it was a floor length dress so there was a lot of fabric to work with. The corset top was useless...I tried to pick the zipper out to re-use it but it was hopeless. So the entire toddler dress is made from the skirt of the bridesmaid dress. I chopped off the top 14" or so of both the dress fabric and lining, and made the bodice (and bodice lining) from those. I must mention that this fabric is a complete nightmare...the instant the scissors touch it the fibers disintegrate, basically. It was very difficult to work with!

I was able to then use the rest of the skirt from the original dress to make the smaller skirt you see here. The pattern pieces wouldn't fit on the remaining skirt, so I simply left it sewn together (front to back panels), gathered it, crossed my fingers, and sewed it to the bodice. The lining remained sewn in, too, so that was easy enough! Bonus: those seams were already serged.

More difficult was placing and sewing the zipper...I went with a regular zipper rather than invisible because I don't have an invisible zipper foot...oh, and I've never sewn an invisible zipper! I didn't think this was the project for trying new things, so I went with what I know. I used peach, and carefully pinned it so the dress fabric overlaps it perfectly in the back. The sewing gods were smiling on me, because it came out just right.

Then it was just a matter of hand stitching the lining down over the waist seam and hemming it (the skirt was the original length from the dress...I had to slice off about 15"). I did a pretty good trick, I think, to hem it. I measured down from the waist and marked the cutting line, then sewed a line of straight stitching on that line first. When I cut it a scant 16th of an inch away from the stitches, that stitching line prevented the fabric from unraveling while I folded and hemmed. I did the same with the lining.

Finally, the dress needed something to jazz it up. It was too plain. I took it to Michael's and was lucky to find this ombre ribbon that matches almost too perfectly. It was wired so I had to carefully pull the wire out of each side, but then I was able to turn the ends and stitch them, tack it in 3 places (center front and side seams), and tie a bow in the back.

Done! I hope my sis likes it and I hope her friend does too.

Oh, it is a size 3, using the bodice from New Look 6309.

Back to the to-do list.....


Karen said...

you speak my language. i love that.

the dress is great, such a thoughtful idea. i use a regular zipper foot when I do an invisible zipper. It works fine. :)

sweetpea family said...

I know how you feel sometimes my head is bursting with ideas - I have enough yarn to open a small shop, piles of fabric, a counter full of cookery books with recipes marked to try - and I just don't know where to start. x

paulineknit said...

How I empathise with you, with so much to do you don't know where to start, but for different reasons. One of my hobbies seems to be collecting 'things to do for other people' and then having too many. usually it's my own 'work' that gets neglected.

But you completed that pretty dress from that awful fabric (colour excepted - that's pretty). Well done!