Summer Beach Robes

Ok, well, so far they have been pool robes. At some point, these "beach robes" will actually make it to the beach. Pathetic really, since we have a beach within a hour or so in either direction. Gulf to the west, Atlantic to the east. Sigh.... neighborhood community pool it is.

These cozy robes are made from towels (beach or bath) and a downloadable pattern from Dana at Made.  
Disclaimer: the picture is a little deceiving, the larger pink robe actually took 2 towels to make, not 1.  The smaller blue robe I did get from 1 towel.  

The towels were on sale at Target for $4 and the pattern cost me $8. Total cost for two robes and a pattern I can use a million more times was about $20. (Budget leftover for Starbucks drive through... mmmm). You could use terrycloth fabric, but usually you have a way better selection just getting a towel. Also,they sell towels everywhere or you can just take some from a relative's linen closet next time you're over. What?
So, I must admit, I'm a bit of a blog stalker. I check out Made once a week. Okay, a couple times a week. OKAY, everyday. But isn't that what bloggers want you to do? I'd like a blog stalker or two, or a few thousand. Tee hee. Anyway, one day Dana announced that she had a new pattern for sale. My first thought was, "I'll just look at the pictures and wing it... I don't need the pattern. I am the best seamstress ever!" -said in super hero voice. (Well, maybe not that last part). Then, I realized I'd have to make arm holes and measure my kids... bleh. $8 later, the pattern was mine. I must say, well worth it!  I hope my extended family knows their kids will be getting robes for the next few birthdays and Christmases. : )
This was the first time I made any clothing from a pattern and Dana breaks it WAY down. Have you ever tried to sew from those tissue paper patterns from the fabric store? Holy confusing! I just did it for the first time the other night (blog post to come) and had to look up 3 words in the first sentence of the first direction. Not simple no matter what the package says. The pattern from made was just like reading a blog tutorial with color pictures and instructions. Easy.

So anyway, they turned out really well. The only complaint I'd have is that there is A LOT of bias tape to sew on. That was the most time consuming thing. Not hard, just tedious. I love how bias tape looks, just dislike sewing it. Do they have a machine for that?

It's so nice to have robes to throw on the kids for the walk home from the pool. Trying to keep a beach towel wrapped around a 3-year-old and a 1-year-old for a 5-minute walk wasn't working out. I can't tell you how many times I yanked dirty, ran-over beach towel out of the stroller wheels. Problem solved and they look so cute!

Kid #1 was more interested in swimming than having her robe  picture taken. Imagine that?!
 Kid #2 is a bit of a ham.  "Helllllllo ladies".


Simple Shirred Skirt {from an old tank}

In my sewing pile I have actual fabric and then a whole bunch of old defective clothes.  Defective meaning they either don't fit, have a hole, have a stain, or are severely out of style. This tank is in the "doesn't fit" category.  Looks cute on the table, not so much on me. I've wanted to use it for a long time in some sort of upcycled project.  Then it came to me... as in, my friend Katherine from Sew Woodsy sent me a link to some shirred skirts made from t-shirts. Bingo!

Here's what I did. (note, this tank was a women's small which made a good toddler-sized skirt.  The bigger the booty, the bigger the shirt has to be.)

Start with your tank or t-shirt laid out flat.

Chop off the bottom just under the pits. (might want to measure your kid to see how long to make it)

I hemmed the top by folding it over about a half inch and ironing. (totally optional since knit won't fray)

Iron all the way around.

Now comes the shirring.  Load your bobbin ONLY with elastic thread.  You have to do this by hand, not in the automatic bobbin winder on your machine.  It will wind it too tight.  Wrap it around the bobbin tight enough so there is not slack but you're not stretching it either.  Then thread your machine with regular thread.  Start sewing a straight line.

 Here's what happened to mine. Ugh.

I have a Brother sewing machine and after many frustrating balls of elastic thread got ripped from my machine, I Googled and found Brother machines don't play nice with elastic thread.  So I messed and messed and experimented both with tension and stitch length and FINALLY got it to work!

I made my stitch length 5 and my tension 7 and it started to shirr! As you can see, I was so sick of seam ripping at this point, I just sewed right over the messed up lines. Whatever, she's going to spill juice on it anyway.  Just sew line after line about 1/2 inch apart... as many as you want.

It turned out really cute but has some flaws.  First of all, it doesn't stretch out as much as it should. My kid really has to shimmie to get it over her booty.  And, when I tried the same technique again to make a skirt for me, I got a big old mess again of elastic thread and no shirring.  I guess I just found the right tension and stitch length for this particular fabric?  I have no idea.  According to everyone else in blogland it's really easy... if you don't have a Brother sewing machine. : )

Click here for another explanation on how to fix your shirring frustration with a Brother sewing machine. I don't know if I'm brave enough to take my machine apart, but it worked for her! Good luck.


Summer Beach Quilt... in the making

It's official.  I started the Summer Beach Quilt.  Thanks to an awesome Independence Day sale JoAnn's was having, quarters were 50% off!  That means, they were $1.  Woo hoo!  On top of that, work let us out early on Friday which means the kids were still at daycare and I had 2 hours to shop by myself. "Auuuuuuhhhhhh".... that was the sound of angels singing and the clouds parting.
Everything except the two fabrics in the front there (the yellow paisley and the orange floral) are quarters. I like using quarters mostly because I hate having fabric cut. Haha. Why does it take forever?! Ugh. I tried to buy 3 of each quarter but in some cases they didn't have 3.  Oh well, I'll just wing it.
I've been scouring Pinterest lately looking for a new quilt pattern to try, but I keep going back to the style I already made for little Levi. I just love it. And since the last one was a gift and this one will be for me, I think I'm just going to do the same thing again. I can do that, right?
Hopefully I'll have it done before beach weather is over.  Hope you like, stay tuned.